Formula E

Paris ePrix: Vergne dominates, extends championship lead

Jean-Eric Vergne took his third victory of the 2017/18 FIA Formula E season to extend his championship lead to 31 points over Sam Bird, as a bizarre last corner collision between Andre Lotterer and Bird saw the Briton take the podium

Vergne narrowly won the pole over Bird, and at the start of the race held onto the lead as Bird slotted into second and immediately piled on the pressure. The two were nose-to-tail throughout the entirety of the first stint, with Vergnes teammate Lotterer managing to join the action during the latter stages of the stint. Further back in the pack, Tom Blomqvist, Nico Prost and Mitch Evans all came to blows with substantial damage sustained by Blomqvist and Prost, the latter losing his rear wing. This lead to a brief full course yellow period but the race was very soon back underway with Vergne still at the head of the pack.

As the first stint neared its climax Bird really piled the pressure on Vergne, but the Frenchman stood firm and did not buckle. Bird had to look in his rear view mirrors as well as Lotterer himself had started to pile the pressure onto the Virgin driver.  As the top three took to the pits, Vergne and Lotterer gained and lost a second to bird respevtively, leaving the Briton in a no mans land for a period as Lucas Di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi carried on for an extra two laps before making their own stops. Both drivers thus had much more usable energy during the last stint of the race. Di Grassi made headway and started to catch the top three, Buemi meanwhile stuck in a tight midfield battle with Maro Engel and Daniel Abt, the latter coming from P14 on the grid and eventually making his way past Buemi despite the Renault having much more usable energy.

Back up front and Lotterer had barged his way past Bird at turn 10 on lap 35, and started to chase down Vergne before Di Grassi himself passed Bird and closed up to the Germans Techeetah. Vergne held a steady gap of nearly three seconds as the two behind fought it out for the runners up spot, and it looked like Lotterer had won the battle towards the end of the final lap. However, just before the last corner Lotterer had to slow right down to ensure he finished the race which let Di Grassi through into second. What followed next was Bird ploughing into the back of the cruising Lotterer, taking the right front wheel off Birds car but he still crossed the line and took third place as Lotterer limed home sixth. Vergne meanwhile took his third win of the season in front of an adoring home crowd and extended his already healthy championship lead back up to 31 points. Abt completed a fine recovery drive to take seventh, as Buemi found a way back past the German. Felix Rosenqvist, who had a difficult weekend, Oliver Turvey and Jose Maria Lopez completed the top ten.

Full results to follow.

Feature Image Credit: FIA Formula E Twitter
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