Extreme ENews

Extreme E: Lewis Hamilton’s X44 claims season two title

Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing claimed its first Extreme E title by the narrowest of margins in an enthralling season finale in Uruguay.

X44 entered the final on Sunday with three of the top four teams in the championship standings missing out, including leaders and reigning champions Rosberg X Racing.

As their closest rivals watched on from the paddock, Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez secured the podium finish needed to take their maiden Extreme E title, just two points clear of RXR in the standings, having bagged a crucial five points from the Continental Traction Challenge in Qualifying 2.

Cristina Gutiérrez, X44 Vida Carbon Racing, said: “I still can’t believe it! It was a very tough weekend for us, especially after my roll yesterday. The team did a crazy job with the (spare) car and Qualifying 2 was the first time we had driven it.

“As for the Final, on the radio they told me someone was going to be penalised but still I didn’t know. I wanted to be sure that we won so I did not celebrate before it was official. It was a rollercoaster, but it is much better than that for us as we can now believe in what we have achieved.”

Sébastien Loeb, X44 Vida Carbon Racing, said: “We could only go and compete with everything we had and try to score maximum points. In the Final, it was a critical moment because I was fourth and we needed to be third. We had some contact here and there, but there was nothing I could do to overtake. Cristina did a great job to stay very close to the car in front and we knew potentially we were third. At the end it was what we needed so I’m really relieved to be here and really proud to win this championship.”

As it happened

If the X44 team were going to bring home their first Extreme E title, then it was never going to be easy and, from the opening sequence of corners, the other teams were making life difficult for them.

ABT CUPRA XE’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Veloce Racing’s Kevin Hansen surrounded Loeb, however a fantastic move from the veteran allowed him to squeeze through the tiniest of gaps to grab second place just behind Al-Attiyah.

In a weekend that was full of incidents, Loeb and teammate Gutiérrez would have to mix caution with aggression if they were to bring home the Championship.

With the title on the line, Loeb kept the ABT CUPRA XE within reach, but as the leading teams tussled for supremacy, NEOM McLaren Extreme E’s Tanner Foust timed his attack perfectly, charging through to take second away from X44 Vida Carbon Racing.

Championship glory slipped further and further away from the challengers, as Timmy Hansen managed to get past the recovering Loeb to secure third for Genesys Andretti United Extreme E. A masterclass in defending followed, with Hansen keeping Loeb at bay as the teams approached the Switch Zone, where Gutiérrez would pick up the fight with Catie Munnings.

A five-second penalty for Veloce Racing, from Hansen hitting a waypoint flag on his stint, took the pressure off X44 Vida Carbon Racing from behind, but the heat was on to overtake Genesys Andretti United Extreme E.

Gutiérrez threw her ODYSSEY 21 into every corner but was struggling to gain enough ground on Munnings up ahead. The Spaniard was also under investigation for a collision with Veloce Racing’s Molly Taylor, for which she would later receive a five-second penalty.

Just as time seemed to be running out for X44 Vida Carbon Racing, a seven-second penalty came through for Genesys Andretti United Extreme E for speeding in the Switch Zone.

This was the lifeline that Gutiérrez needed as she fought to stay close enough to the Genesys Andretti United Extreme E ODYSSEY 21. The Spaniard crossed the line in fourth but within two seconds of Munnings, thus securing third place and the championship title for X44 Vida Carbon Racing, just two points clear of RXR.

Further up the field, a measured drive from Klara Andersson kept Emma Gilmour in her mirrors as the NEOM McLaren Extreme E driver chased a maiden podium for the team. Gilmour secured second, while Andersson and Al-Attiyah’s performances earned ABT CUPRA XE their first X Prix win and back-to-back podiums during the pair’s first Extreme E campaign.

Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, added: “I think the season finale was an amazing rollercoaster. Everything was open!

“There was an incredible comeback from X44 Vida Carbon Racing and bad luck for Rosberg X Racing, who have done some incredible things this season. Once again the championship decider was close, with the season going down to the wire, so we’re ready for a fantastic campaign next year!”

Championship Standings

X44 Vida Carbon Racing: 86 points

Rosberg X Racing: 84 points

ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team: 66 points

No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing: 63 points

NEOM McLaren Extreme E: 52 points

ABT CUPRA XE: 46 points

Genesys Andretti United Extreme E: 45 points

XITE ENERGY Racing: 33 points

JBXE: 27 points

Veloce Racing: 18 points