Nelson Piquet Jr who won his
race in Long Beach (USA) in April, 2015, once again showed his class as he jumped
into the lead of the Moscow ePrix at the start before going on to build up a
commanding gap that he simply maintained after the car swap.
Piquet’s second win for the
NEXTEV TCR team increased his championship lead and ensures he heads into the
season finale double-header in London with a 10-point lead. Lucas di Grassi of
Audi Sport ABT came in second while Nick Heidfeld of Veturi came in third.
Karun Chandhok of Mahindra Racing raced to the 12th position while
his team mate Brno Senna could only manage a 16th position.
In fact, Sebastien Buemi lost
second place in the Moscow ePrix after his e.dams-Renault team was penalised
for an unsafe release. The team had already held Buemi for 68 seconds, far
longer than the mandated 58 minimum requirement, when they released Buemi into
the path of the approaching Venturi entry of Nick Heidfeld. As a result Buemi
had 29 seconds added on to his race time – the equivalent of a drive-through
penalty – which dropped him to ninth place.
This meant that all the
drivers from fourth to ninth were promoted one place – including Heidfeld into
a first podium spot.
It also meant that Buemi
dropped behind Lucas di Grassi to third place in the standings, 23 points
behind Nelson Piquet Jr.
Jarno Trulli will have to drop
five places on the grid at the next race in London after the stewards deemed he
failed to slow significantly after cutting the chicane.
In a heated battle for 10th
place with Amlin Aguri’s Antonio Felix da Costa, Trulli ran through the run-off
area at the Turn 7 chicane. Following a post-race investigation Trulli was
handed a five-place grid penalty for the next event.
Dragon Racing’s Loic Duval was
also penalised for hitting the back of Trulli at the Turn 11 hairpin and dropped
to 15th after 29 seconds was added to his final race time.
Lucas di Grassi closed his
fellow Brazilian down in the second half of the race, reducing the gap from six
seconds to 1.6s at its smallest. But the charge had taken the Audi Sport ABT
car’s battery to its maximum temperature and he was forced to slow to let it
For Sebastien Buemi the race
was even more fraught. Stuck behind Vergne and di Grassi from the start, he was
able to conserve energy and stay out a lap longer than his rivals. It could
have been a winning strategy, but amazingly his e.dams-Renault team mistook the
minimum pitstop time and held the Swiss driver in the pits for 68 seconds
rather than the mandated 58.
Having lost 10 seconds, Buemi
was on a charge late on, and went wheel-to-wheel with Vergne – Buemi cut the
chicane and slowed to let the Frenchman back through. But Vergne also slowed,
which allowed Nick Heidfeld to take full advantage of the confusion to nip into
third. All three cars touched through the Turn 11 hairpin and they were covered
by fractions as they crossed the line.
“We did a mistake at the
pitstop,” he confirmed. “We lost close to 10 seconds there so I had to push
hard. Obviously I did a lap more than the others in the first car so I could go
flat out in the second car. I was catching JEV and he was often cutting the
chicane, so it was difficult in the last few laps to catch him because he was
gaining an advantage. Then in the last lap I used the FanBoost, and ran a
little bit wide in Turn 3 and then had a bit of a contact with him. Then we had
another contact in the last chicane, we had to cut the chicane, and then
Heidfeld caught us.”
Buemi also collected two
additional points for the fastest lap after his quickest time was disqualified
for not respecting track limits.
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