Pictures courtesy FIA Formula E
Thirty five years on, the
Brazilian national anthem was played again at Long Beach to celebrate a Piquet
victory. On the afternoon of April 4, 2015 Nelson Jr. took his first Formula E
win in the same spot where his father scored his maiden Formula 1 victory. As
for the boys from Mahindra Racing, Bruno Senna came in fifth while his teammate
Karun Chandhok came in 12th.
Also confirming that sometimes
history likes repeating itself, another fellow countryman found his way to the
podium: back in the day it was Emerson Fittipaldi, while now it was Lucas Di
Grassi who took third position. Only the nationality of the second-placed
driver was different to that of the race on March 30, held 35 years ago, with
France’s Jean-Eric Vergne in the second place that had gone to Italy’s Riccardo
Just a short distance from
Hollywood, Formula E once again put on a spectacular show, watched by 23,000
spectators who packed the Long Beach grandstands and paddock. Among them were
film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Adrien Brody and from the world of fashion,
Irina Shayk, to add some sparkle to the Long Beach stage. For the sixth time in
as many races, there was a different winner: Piquet’s name can thus be added to
those of Di Grassi (Beijing,) Bird (Putrajaya,) Buemi (Punta del Este,) Da
Costa (Buenos Aires) and Prost (Miami,) which confirms how closely matched is
the first ever electric championship.
According to an FIA Formula E
press note, the Brazilian took a richly deserved win, leading practically from
start to finish. Having started from second, alongside Daniel Abt, Nelson got
past the German under braking for the first corner and, from then on, kept the
lead throughout, carving out a small but constant gap to his closest rivals. In
the first stint, which saw the race neutralised twice in the early stages,
firstly when Speed went off into the barriers at turn 2 and the second when Pic
and Trulli collided, the former penalised, the latter forced to retire, Abt was
able to keep in Piquet’s slipstream, while Vergne made the most of the first
restart to pass Buemi and move into third place. In the run of pit stops, which
came later than usual, because of those neutralised periods, Andretti
Autosport’s French driver managed to gain another place and sit behind Piquet
Jr. but he never looked likely to pass the Brazilian. Abt kept third spot up
until lap 32, when he had to pit to take a penalty for excessive energy usage. Thus
team-mate Di Grassi moved up into a podium position which he had to defend to
the bitter end, from Buemi who was keen to make up for the disappointment of
losing pole: the Swiss driver had actually been fastest in qualifying, but his
best time was later cancelled for going over the permitted limit of energy
It was only at the chequered
flag that the gap from Piquet to Vergne dropped below the two seconds mark,
while Di Grassi led home Buemi by a few tenths. Completing a great day for
Brazil, there was a fifth place finish for Bruno Senna, while the rest of the
points went to Jerome D’Ambrosio, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Jaime Alguersuari,
Loic Duval and Stephane Sarrazin. The only American in the race did not have
much luck, as Scott Speed was knocked out at the start through a mistake, while
Sam Bird was the victim of a collision in the hectic moments going through the
first chicane after the start.
The Long Beach win is also the
first in Formula E for the China Racing team, while thanks to the 25 points he
picked up, Piquet Jr. moves up to second in the Drivers’ Championship, on 74
points, just one behind fellow countryman Di Grassi, back in the lead on 75.
Nicolas Prost, who led the championship coming into this round, brought home a
mere two points that come with the fastest race lap, after he dropped out of
the points, following a penalty for causing a collision with D’Ambrosio. In the
teams classification, it is still e.dams in the lead on 124 points, while Audi
Sport Abt are second on 97 and Virgin Racing third with 82.
The next round of the Formula
E series also takes place in a famous motor sport location: in fact, the May 9,
sees the Monaco ePrix run on a track featuring sections of the one used for the
Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Name of Driver
Lucas di Grassi
Audi Sport ABT
Antonio Felix da Costa
Nicolas Prost (FL)
Daniel Abt (P)
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