Maximilian Günther claims the first win of his Formula E career at the Santiago E-Prix
Photographer: BMW i Andretti Motorsport
Win number two in race three of this season’s ABB FIA Formula E Championship for BMW i Andretti Motorsport: In a thrilling finale, Maximilian Günther (GER) pulled off a final-lap overtaking manoeuvre in the #28 BMW iFE.20 to take victory at the Santiago E-Prix (CHI). The 22-year-old claimed the first win of his Formula E career in only his third race for the team. In doing so, he also became the youngest winner ever in the series. The 25 points scored took BMW i Andretti Motorsport to the top of the Team standings. Alexander Sims (GBR) crashed out in Santiago.
In qualifying, Sims struggled with a track that was still slippery for group one. After three pole positions in a row, he was forced to settle for 15th place on the grid. Günther took perfect advantage of the better track conditions in group three and progressed to Super Pole, where second place gave him a start position on the front row of the grid, the fourth consecutive time that a BMW had started from row one.
While Sims found himself embroiled in many fierce battles in the midfield at the start of the race, and was ultimately forced to retire after making contact with the crash barriers, Günther established himself nicely in the top three. Towards the end of the race, he benefitted from the energy efficiency of his BMW iFE.20 and the team’s outstanding strategy. In a captivating battle for the lead, he was able to overtake António Félix da Costa (POR) on the final lap and take the chequered flag in first place.
Reactions to the Santiago E-Prix:
Jens Marquardt (BMW Group Motorsport Director):
“That was an extraordinary performance, both from Maximilian Günther and everyone in the BMW i Andretti Motorsport team. It is incredible how maturely and coolly Maximilian drove in only his third Formula E race for our team. He more than deserved the first Formula E win of his career and the title of ‘youngest Formula E winner ever’. He and the team kept a cool head, particularly in the dramatic closing stages, and judged the situation correctly. We reckoned that António could have cooling problems, and that is exactly what happened. That correct appraisal allowed Max to pull off the fantastic overtaking manoeuvre on the final lap. On the whole, we can obviously be extremely happy with two wins and two pole positions in three races, as well as first place in the Team competition. Alexander Sims had a tough day today, but he is still right up there. We now have two winning drivers in the Drivers’ Championship, and we will go on the attack with both of them again at the Mexico City E-Prix.”
Roger Griffiths (Team Principal BMW i Andretti Motorsport, team standings: 1st place):
“When he crossed the finish line, the celebrations in the garage were deafening. To have won two races in a row and lead the Team competition feels damn good. I am delighted for Max. After the disappointment in Diriyah, where he was subsequently denied second place after the race, he has done it this time and claimed his first win. Together with his race engineer, he drove a very clever race. By using ATTACK MODE intelligently, he was first able to overtake Pascal Wehrlein and then pass Mitch Evans with a spectacular manoeuvre. Towards the end of the race, we saw that the two Techeetah cars were gaining rapidly, but we always knew that we were controlling the situation well and managing the temperature of the batteries better. We were proved right, as you could see with António at the end.”
Alexander Sims (#27 BMW iFE.20, qualifying result: 15th place, race result: DNF, points: 35, driver standings: 2nd place):
“Firstly, I am incredibly pleased for Max and the team. Max had an outstanding qualifying, and he and the team did everything right in the race. I had good pace in the practice sessions too, but there was not much I could do in qualifying group one. The first laps of my race were pretty good. It was typical Formula E racing in the midfield; hard, but good. I then made slight contact with the wall, but damaged my car so severely that I had to retire from the race. As such, the result is obviously disappointing.”
Maximilian Günther (#28 BMW iFE.20, qualifying result: 2nd place, race result: 1st place, points: 25, driver standings: 4th place):
“Today is a dream come true. I am incredibly happy to take the first win of my Formula E career here in Santiago. Second place in qualifying was superb. Having not made a great start on the dirty side of the track, which cost me a position, we used ATTACK MODE very cleverly to allow me to take the lead. In the heat, it was also important to keep an eye on the temperature of the batteries. We did that really well. On the final lap, António had to coast a little earlier than me on the straight. I thought to myself ‘now or never’ and went for the overtake. Fortunately, it came off.”