Lucas Di Grassi secured the Formula E drivers’ championship after a strong weekend in Montreal.
After championship rival Sebastien Buemi was disqualified from the penultimate race, Di Grassi was 18 points ahead going into the final round of the season. A mistake in qualifying put Buemi at an even bigger disadvantage, whilst Di Grassi managed to take fifth on the grid.
Di Grassi fell back to seventh at the start of the race, with team-mate Daniel Abt right behind him. The pair built up a small train as the race progressed, but nobody could find their way past the Audi duo.
Further back, Buemi was hit by Antonio Felix Da Costa in an opening lap squeeze, damaging the rear of his Renault e.dams. Buemi was given the meatball flag, ordering him to pit as part of the bodywork had come loose. Before Buemi could pit, the offending piece was knocked off the car, but he was still required to visit the team. Frustrated, he dropped to the back of the field.
He could only progress to 18th before the mid race pit stop.
Not wanting to risk another investigation for unsafe release, Buemi’s pit stop was over a minute to make sure the path was clear.
Di Grassi also took a long stop and dropped behind Jerome D’Ambrosio, but he was still running inside the points. He later took the position back, moving up to seventh in the second stint and finished just behind team-mate Abt.
Buemi picked off driver after driver in his second car, but it was too little too late for the man who had been leading the championship all the way up until the penultimate race. He finished 11th, outside the points, and 24 points behind Di Grassi.
Jean-Eric Vergne took his first Formula E race victory after taking the lead from Felix Rosenvist late in the race. The Techeetah driver was on Rosenqvist’s tail throughout the opening stint, but fell away in the pit stop. He left the pits more than five seconds behind Rosenqvist, but quickly caught up with the Mahindra. and took the lead with a late but clean lunge.
Rosenqvist took second, ahead of Jose Maria Lopez and Sam Bird. The result puts him third in the championship in his debut season.
Nick Heidfeld took fifth after running as high as third early in the race. He fell back behind the Virgin drivers, finishing nearly 15 seconds behind Bird.
After spinning on the opening lap and dropping to the back of the field, Stephane Sarrazin quietly recovered to finish eighth, with D’Ambrosio and Tom Dillmann rounding out the top 10.
A frustrating race for Renault e.dams was only compounded by Nico Prost’s misfortune. The Frenchman started from the pits and was handed a 10 second penalty before the start of the race. He struggled to keep up with the rest of the field and the team eventually opted to chase the fastest lap. He took the point for the achievement.
But after such a dominant season, the Montreal frustration wasn’t enough to derail Renault’s championship. The squad took the teams’ title for the third consecutive season. Abt Audi took second, with Mahindra securing third.
Image credit: FIA Formula E Media