Sebastien Buemi of e.dams-Renault clinched his first Formula
E victory with a great drive in Punta del Este in Uruguay, holding off an
almost defiant Jean-Eric Vergne of Andretti for a well-deserved win.
Vergne started from pole, but lost out to the fast-starting
Nelson Piquet Jr of China racing. But as the China Racing driver sought to
press home his early advantage he pushed a bit too hard and brushed the wall.
According to an FIA Formula E press release, the damage was
minor, but it meant that the handling of his car started to deteriorate. Vergne
took the lead with a well-judged lunge into the Turn 8 hairpin and instantly
pulled clear as Piquet battled with e.dams-Renault team-mates Buemi and Nico Prost,
as well as an ill-handling car.
When Venturi’s Stephane Sarrazin hit a kerb hard and broke
his suspension and spun, the Qualcomm Safety Car came out. Its mid-race timing
was perfect and all the drivers darted into the pits. This was especially well-timed
for Mahindra’s Bruno Senna, who’d tagged the wall avoiding the spinning
Sarrazin. He three-wheeled back to the pits, swapped cars and continued.
The caution period came a lap after Vergne had pitted and he
lost the lead to Buemi, who had finally found a way by Piquet, during the
For the rest of the race Buemi had Vergne in hot pursuit.
But with four laps to go, the BMW i8 was deployed again, this time after
Matthew Brabham slammed his Andretti entry into the wall of the exit of the
fast T15 chicane.
At the restart Vergne deployed his FanBoost, and although he
closed right in, it wasn’t quite enough to make a pass. It seemed set for an
epic final lap battle, only for Vergne to be denied by broken suspension. It
was a cruel end to a great debut.
With Piquet too far back to attack, Buemi could relax and
score an impressive win.
“I knew he was going to use his FanBoost, clearly we took it
a little bit too safe in the last few laps when he started to catch me because
I was still trying to save energy,” he said, adding that “I knew he was going
to be fast but I don’t know what happened to him in the end. I’m really happy
with today’s result.”
After being denied in Malaysia, Piquet was naturally
thrilled to score his first podium finish.
For the third time in three races Lucas di Grassi scored a
podium finish, extending his championship lead to 18 points in the process.
“It was a great start, immediate reaction and the car
handled very well. On the first lap I attacked the chicane a little bit too
hard trying to build a gap and I think I damaged my front suspension,” he said,
adding “We got a bit lucky to get second place when Jean-Eric had a problem but
we’re all happy.”
Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird remains in second, level on points
with Buemi, but it was a race to forget for the Putrajaya winner. He crashed
out early on at T2, causing the first of the three Qualcomm safety car periods.
Jarno Trulli scored his first Formula E points after a
feisty drive to fourth. The Italian enjoyed race-long battles with the likes of
Brabham and Sarrazin.
“It’s a reasonable result for us. It’s a good result for the
team, but I seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time a lot!” he said
Jaime Alguersuari was fifth for Virgin Racing, Senna took
sixth, Prost seventh after being penalised for using too much power. Dragon
Racing team-mate Jerome d’Ambrosio and Oriol Servia took eighth and ninth,
while Nick Heidfeld finally scored his first point in 10th.
The Venturi driver actually came out in the lead during the
pitstop, but was penalised for exceeding the minimum time. He was punished
again for using too much power, but on the last lap his used his FanBoost to
overtake Antonio Garcia and score a point.
Daniel Abt picked up two bonus points for the fastest lap,
but it was not a happy race for the German. His Audi Sport Abt car kept
switching itself off, which meant he finally finished 15th, three laps down.
FIA Formula E
Championship – Punta del Este ePrix (Rd 3) – Results:
Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 49:08.990
Nelson Piquet Jr, China Racing, +0.732s
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +2.635s
Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +4.163s
Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +4.698s
Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +5.197s
Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +6.514s
Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +7.567s
Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing, +8.646s
Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +10.563s
Antonio Garcia, China Racing, +10.594s
Michela Cerruti, Trulli, +19.617s
Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +54.175s
Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti, +2 laps
Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +3 laps
Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, +4 laps
Matthew Brabham, Andretti, DNF
Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, DNF
Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, DNF
Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, DNF
(After Rd 3):
Lucas di Grassi - 58pts
Sebastien Buemi - 40pts
Sam Bird - 40pts
Nicolas Prost - 24pts
Nelson Piquet Jr. - 22pts
Jerome d’Ambrosio - 22pts
Franck Montagny - 18pts
Karun Chandhok - 18pts
Jaime Alguersuari - 14pts
Oriol Servia - 14pts
(After Rd 3):
e.dams-Renault Formula E - 64pts
Audi Sport ABT Formula E - 62pts
Virgin Racing Formula E - 54pts
Dragon Racing Formula E - 36pts
Andretti Formula E - 33pts
Mahindra Racing Formula E - 26pts
China Racing Formula E -22pts
Trulli Formula E - 12pts
Amlin Aguri Formula E - 6pts
Venturi Formula E - 4pts
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