Evans leaves it late to pass defensive Wehrlein for Shanghai E-Prix win

Mitch Evans got by a hard defending Pascal Wehrlein on the final lap to claim victory in the first race of the Shanghai E-Prix doubleheader weekend.

TAG Heuer Porsche driver Wehrlein had been in control for much of the race, but that left him with less energy and susceptible to Evans and his Jaguar TCS Racing teammate Nick Cassidy.

Cracks in Wehrlein’s lead started to show on lap 23 of 29 when he locked up at Turn 6, opening the door for Evans to get by at the next corner. Wehrlein would move back to the fore three laps later, with the pair making contact through Turns 10 and 11 and Wehrlein resorting to taking the to the grass. Evans then tried again at Turn 6 on lap 27, but Wehrlein held firm, as he did the following lap where he resisted Evans through Turns 6 to 10.


But on the final lap, Evans finally made a move stick, powering round the outside of the long sweeping first corner. Cassidy looked to follow, once again at Turn 6, but couldn’t make the move work.

Cassidy, who had a sizeable energy advantage over Evans and Wehrlein, pleaded with his team on multiple occasions to be allowed to pass Evans to challenge Wehrlein for the lead earlier in the race but was made to hold station and play rear gunner to Evans — a move that, given Evans’ win, probably cost the team a one-two finish. Cassidy was also noticeably irked by Wehrlein’s driving through the tight Turn 10-11 complex on the final lap, after the two made contact which resulted in damage to Cassidy’s front wing.

After making a poor start from the front row of the grid, where he was swamped by Wehrlein and Evans, Nissan’s Oliver Rowland rallied back to take fourth — only just missing out on the podium having been unable to capitalize on the contact between Cassidy and Wehrlein ahead of him.

Antonio Felix da Costa and Jake Dennis were fifth and sixth for Porsche and Andretti respectively after being passed by Rowland late in the race, with Dennis also setting the fastest lap. da Costa was later hit with a five-second penalty for forcing Jean-Eric Vergne off the track at Turn 12, demoting him to a final classification of 19th and giving Dennis that final top-five spot.

Polesitter Vergne subsequently wound up sixth, the DS-badged Stellantis powertrain proving no match for the more efficient Porsches and Jaguars.

Nyck de Vries ended a long wait for his first points of the season, finishing seventh for Mahindra. The former AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver briefly held the lead until relinquishing it to Wehrlein on lap 12 after being told “we don’t want the lead” over the radio by his team, who were aware that the Mahindra’s efficiency deficiency would not allow them to safely remain out in front for long. De Vries’ teammate Edoardo Mortara was the only retiree of the race, his race ending on lap 16 after contact.

Envision Racing’s Sebastien Buemi, DS Penske’s Stoffel Vandoorne, and Abt Cupra’s Lucas di Grassi rounded out the top 10 ahead of Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz who made up 11 places, and Robin Frijns in the second Envision entry. Frijns had been in the lead conversation early on but faded, then spun late on ending all hopes of a points finish for the Dutchman.

Sergio Sette Camara (ERT), Norman Nato (Andretti), and Nico Mueller (Abt Cupra) were next, with Sam Bird 17th on his return from injury, one spot behind his teammate Jake Hughes in what was a forgettable day for the NEOM McLaren team.

Behind the penalized da Costa, Maserati MSG Racing’s Jehan Daruvala and Maximiian Guenther completed the finishers, the pair being split by ERT’s Dan Ticktum. Guenther was also given a penalty, of 10 seconds, for causing a collision with Mortara at turn 6 – the incident which forced the Mahindra driver to retire.


Story originally appeared on Racer