A great drive to fifth position from Bruno Senna was the result of Mahindra’s Formula E Long Beach campaign. The Brazilian racer charged throughout the race to gain positions meaning he snatches a strong haul of well-deserved points. Having started from outside the top ten the race was a frantic fight for positions in the Californian sunshine which saw team mate Karun Chandhok cross the line in 12th.
Following three free practice sessions and the standard group lottery qualifying the drivers lined up alongside packed grandstands and excited fans for the start of the race with Senna in 12th and Chandhok in 18th.
As the lights went out it was a tight squeeze to the first chicane for the grid as they all eyed up their potential positions; thankfully all drivers made it through safely albeit with a couple of corners cut to avoid creating incidents. As Senna and Chandhok passed the line for the first time they were running 11th and 19th respectively.
However soon after the race was slowed with the appearance of the safety car after Scott Speed collided with the wall leaving his front right corner destroyed. With the car neutralising the race, Senna was already running in the top ten and Chandhok was 18th as he awaited the restart of the race.
However the restart didn’t last as long as hoped when just moments later a second safety car was deployed while the stricken car of Jarno Trulli was removed from the track following a collision with Charles Pic. Once the debris was taken away the race could finally get back underway with no further disruption.
The delay in the race however altered the strategy for both Senna and Chandhok, allowing them to remain out on track for a couple of extra laps before needing to pit for their second cars. However when they did, both stops were quick and smooth and with all mandatory car swaps complete Senna had made his way up to sixth position, well and truly in the points, and Chandhok 14th.
The rest of the race settled slightly until the final few laps when a drive through penalty for Daniel Abt, a consequence of exceeding his maximum power allowance, meant that Senna was able to claim fifth for his own. Senna began to chase Sebastian Buemi ahead however with a few laps left he settled for an impressive fifth – collecting further points for the team. Chandhok was less fortunate and after a difficult race in the mid field crossed the line in 12th position overall.
“I’m glad we got a good result out of a qualifying that wasn’t the strongest for us, but still an improvement on previous rounds,” said Senna. “It was great to be competitive on track when we needed to be and have the chance to gain those positions. The team did a great job and we can be happy with the result – we got the most out of the race and we will be aiming for even better in Monaco.”
Chandhok added: “The American races haven’t been kind to me but we can be pleased as a team to see Bruno’s result. There are a few things we need to work on and things didn’t go our way today however we’re heading to Europe now and I plan on that being the turning point after two difficult races.’
Team Principal Dilbagh Gill said: “We knew that we had good race pace here; even though in qualifying we were outside of the top ten, we were confident that we would be able to gain positions throughout the race which is what we did assuredly. Bruno had a very strong race and Karun was also able to improve throughout. We’re now entering the second half of the season and we feel this is our turning point and we will continue on in this positive and strong direction.”