Another win for Sebastien Buemi makes him the first driver in Formula E history to take three wins in a row. The Swiss driver was joined on the podium by Jean-Eric Vergne, who scored Techeetah’s first top three finish, and pole sitter Lucas Di Grassi.
After taking the first Formula E podium of his career, Lucas Di Grassi struggled to keep hold of first place for long. Within five laps, Vergne had managed to pass the Brazilian, starting a drop back through the field that would see him behind Nico Prost and down in fifth. Though he was trying to get back past Prost in the closing laps before the mid race car swap, it wasn’t until the second stint that Di Grassi started to move forward.
With Oliver Turvey in third pitting early due to poor battery management, Di Grassi made up a position in the midrace pit stop, though he very almost collided with Nelson Piquet in the pit lane due to a possible unsafe release from Abt. Di Grassi went on to find a way past Prost when the Frenchman made a small mistake, but he couldn’t get close enough to challenge Vergne in second and finished the race third.
Di Grassi was sent to the stewards’ office after the race as they investigated the unsafe release. A decision is still pending.
Teammate Daniel Abt had a more positive race. After crashing in qualifying, the German started the race 16th on the grid, but slowly managed to climb his way up through the field in the first stint to find himself on the outskirts of the points. Behind him, Robin Frijns, Stephane Sarrazin, and Nick Heidfeld were all right on his tail, but the ABT driver managed to stay in seventh.
There was devastation at Mahindra. After two podiums from two races (doubling the number of podiums the team has scored in Formula E), things were looking well for the team when both Nick Heidfeld and Felix Rosenqvist were able to stay out for an extra lap in their first stint due to superb energy management. The plan soon unravelled though when a problem with Rosenqvist’s second car meant he was stuck in the pits. Though he managed to get back out, the rookie was effectively out of the race in P17 and just running for the fastest lap. He managed to take the time, and the point that comes with it, from Sam Bird, who was also out of the race due to damage to his first car at the start of the race.
There was also a problem for Heidfeld’s pit stop, though his was too fast rather than too slow. The German’s pit stop was under the minimum pit stop time of 55 seconds, resulting in a drive through penalty for the Mahindra driver as he tried to scrap with Sarrazin and Frijns.
After three races, Buemi is now 32 points ahead of Di Grassi (pending the decision on his penalty). It’s still too early to say whether the Swiss driver is going to be able to take the championship as easily as he took the race win today, but he’s definitely started out on the right foot.
1 – Sebastien Buemi – Renault e.dams
2 – Jean Eric Vergne – Techeetah
3 – Lucas Di Grassi – ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
4 – Nico Prost – Renault e.dams
5 – Nelson Piquet – Nextev NIO
6 – Loic Duval – Faraday Future Dragon Racing
7 – Daniel Abt – ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
8 – Jerome D’Ambrosio – Faraday Future Dragon Racing
9 – Oliver Turvey – NextEV NIO
10 – Jose Maria Lopez – DS Virgin Racing
11 – Antonio Felix Da Costa – MS Amlin Andretti
12 – Stephane Sarrazin – Venturi
13 – Mitch Evans – Panasonic Jaguar Racing
14 – Robin Frijns – MS Amlin Andretti
15 – Nick Heidfeld – Mahindra Racing
16 – Ma Qing Hua – Techeetah
17 – Adam Carroll – Panasonic Jaguar Racing
18 – Felix Rosenqvist – Mahindra Racing
19 – Maro Engel – Venturi
20 – Sam Bird – DS Virgin Racing
Feature image credit: FIA Formula E Media