Mitch Evans says the second full course yellow in Saturday’s Rome E-Prix was the reason he was unable to score his second ABB FIA Formula E Championship podium finish after running strongly all race.
The Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver passed Sebastien Buemi for third position and soon inherited second as leader Felix Rosenqvist retired but the Kiwi reckons the subsequent FCY period “destroyed” his race.
“I thought we were in a great position but obviously the first full course yellow was a shame, but it was good as well because it neutralized the race in a way,” he told e-racing365.
“The second full course yellow just destroyed me. I used a bit to catch up to [Bird] and then in between the two full course yellow periods, that was my only opportunity.
“In the full course yellow, you save so much energy and a lot is going back into the tank.
“For them, being so low on energy before that, and me targeting higher all race, as soon as the targets go out, the coasting periods become shorter and the race becomes faster.
“It’s essentially a lot harder to pass because you can’t be as cunning when it comes to lift and coast periods.”
A three-way battle for the lead involving Bird, Evans and Lucas di Grassi looked set to unfold with five laps to go but a luck up for Evans dropped he and the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver back.
“[Bird] made a mistake and I thought that was it because I was in a good position there and defended well into Turn 9,” Evans explained.
“Looking back, that was probably my only opportunity in that lap. I was a bit greedy into the next corner but I had Lucas right behind me on good energy.
“He was quick, I felt like I had to pass Sam as soon as I arrived to him to really get myself into a good position then to make a bit of a gap before Lucas got by.
“It didn’t work out, and it was a really high consumption lap, and the next lap as well, trying to defend the other guy.”
Without the problems caused by the FCY period, Evans believes he and Jaguar were set for their second podium finish of the season but instead had to settle for ninth after running out of energy in the closing laps.
“It spiralled out of control very, very quick. I’ll take it on the chin,” he said.
“The guys did a great job, and I feel bad for the team. We could have easily got a podium. Maybe we were just a little bit impatient, but it’s my first time racing for the win in this championship.
“It should have happened many races ago but obviously this is the reality. I’ll learn a lot from it, I’m going to watch the race back and I’ll come back a lot stronger.”
Sam Smith contributed to this report