Formula E

Race win puts Di Grassi in championship lead

Lucas Di Grassi has taken another win and, this time, he’s hoping to keep it. The Brazilian fort an impressive race, taking the race lead from pole sitter Sam Bird and the championship lead away from Sebastien Buemi.

Qualifying didn’t go well for the e.dams team. The talk of domination that surrounded the team at the start of the championship is gone now, when they failed to make it into the super pole.

Antonio Felix Da Costa took pole position on track, but was sent to the back of the grid when his tyre pressure was found to be too low, promoting Bird to the front and Di Grassi to P2 on the grid.

After the poor qualifying, starting back in seventh, Buemi was on the attack, moving up the field as we’ve seen before. That is, until he hit Robin Frijns. Literally.

Buemi ran over the back of Frijns Amlin Andretti, damaging Frijns’ rear wing and his own front wing. Both cars were called into the pits when the damage was deemed unsafe, with both drivers changing cars. It meant it was unlikely either would finish the race, but there were still fastest lap points to be had.

Di Grassi had taken the lead just before the incident, and kept the advantage through the pit stop when he edged out just ahead of Bird. Any chance the Brit had of trying to take back his lead was dashed when he poked his car’s nose into the tyre barrier at turn five, briefly bringing out the yellow flags. Bird managed to get the car going again, but it put him back behind Bruno Senna in the pack.

The Senna-Bird battle kept up through the second half of the race. Bird made use of every chance he got to try and take Senna, but the Brazilian kept Bird behind.

The battle was put on hold briefly when Nelson Piquet Junior went a little too fast over the chicane at the start of the thirty fourth lap, bringing out the safety car and dashing Lucas Di Grassi’s impressive lead. Piquet’s season has shown no improvement yet, and Long Beach 2016 will be another race to forget for him, when he started in the penultimate slot on the grid due to a motor change and ended just as far back.

Once the safety car had returned to the pits, the Senna-Bird battle returned, but Senna was just about able to hold the Brit back. Senna and Bird eventually finished fifth and sixth, behind Heidfeld (4th), Abt (3rd), and Di Grassi.

The other point scorers were D’Ambrosio, Duval, De Silvestro (her first of the season), and Conway. Buemi managed to salvage something from his disaster of a race by setting the fastest lap and winning two points for that.

Buemi’s points total is now a nice round 100, but Lucas Di Grassi’s win puts him 101, if he can manage to keep it.

Formula E heads to Europe now, with the next race in Paris in a few weeks’ time.

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