Pictures courtesy FIA FormulaE
On May 9, 2015, after securing a victory in Monaco, Sebastien
Buemi became the first driver to secure two wins in the FIA Formula E
Championship. The Swiss driver won the first ever race of the series to be held
in Europe, adding to his previous victory in Punta del Este in Uruguay. It was
also the third win for a driver from the e.dams-Renault team, as Nico Prost had
come out on top in Miami, thus extending its lead in the teams’ standings.
There were quite a few spectators too for this race as 23,000
packed the free grand stands and the hospitality areas, showing that Formula E
is definitely proving to be a big hit in the Old Continent too.
After seven races, Lucas di Grassi still leads the drivers’ classification
on 93 points, four more than Nelson Piquet Jr. The Monaco win puts Buemi back
in the hunt for the title. The Swiss driver is third on 83 points, six more
than team-mate Prost. India’s Karun Chandhok could only manage a No. 13
position for his team Mahindra Racing.
Earlier in the day, Buemi
took a great pole ahead of championship leader Lucas di Grassi, while Jerome
D’Ambrosio and Nelson Piquet Jr lapped fast enough to secure spots on the
second row. But it was the race itself that reserved the real thrills and
excitement. According to an FIA press release, when the race was only a few
seconds old, the leaders managed to escape unharmed, but behind them there was
carnage of epic proportions, triggered by Daniel Abt, with a host of drivers
involved – Bruno Senna, Jean-Eric Vergne, Loic Duval, Salvador Duran and
Vitantonio Liuzzi – while Jaime Alguersuari had already been knocked out before
the first corner.
The Qualcomm Safety
Car sped to the disaster site and while the Automobile Club de Monaco marshals
removed the Brazilian’s and the Spaniard’s cars, the others managed to make
their way back to the pits and switch to their second cars, even though in fact
their races were irrevocably compromised. At the restart, a lead group
developed consisting of Buemi, with di Grassi on his tail, followed by
D’Ambrosio, Piquet, Stephane Sarrazin, Nicolas Prost and Sam Bird.
On lap six, the
NEXTEV TCR Brazilian made the most of the FanBoost and overtook the Belgian
Dragon driver with a super move at Turn 3, to go third. In front, di Grassi
stayed in Buemi’s slipstream, but never found the right moment to get past and
so decided to pit early on lap 25, going for an undercut. The move didn’t work
but only by a few hundredths, because Buemi, who had stayed out on track along
with Piquet, managed to stay in the lead fending off the attacking move from di
Grassi in his Audi Sport ABT car around the outside of the Harbour Hairpin.
In the second stint,
di Grassi first tried to stay with Buemi, although he knew the Swiss driver had
more energy available, but then had his mirrors full of Piquet with whom he
duelled for the lead in the championship. In the end, despite huge efforts from
the Long Beach winner, it was di Grassi who came off best in this all-Brazilian
battle, crossing the line just over two seconds down on Buemi, while in the
closing stages Piquet had to defend from Bird, who tried his utmost to get a
foot on the podium at the very last.