Piquet Wins Dramatic Moscow ePrix to Extend Lead


Nelson Piquet Jr. becomes only the second double winner of the year as he extends his championship lead. He won the Moscow ePrix ahead of rivals Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi. But an action packed race saw the race finish with six cars under investigation.

Jean-Eric Vergne started on pole as the drivers got away, but it was a poor start after getting wheel spin resulting in second place Piquet taking him into the first corner. Meanwhile behind them di Grassi kept ahead of Buemi with Daniel Abt gaining up to fifth.

It was an initially clean start from the grid with no major incidents. But many competitors pushed for places further back. By lap three Piquet was extending his lead from Vergne, di Grassi, Buemi, Abt and Jerome d’Ambrosio.

Unfortunately, problems for Vitantonio Liuzzi and Sam Bird saw their race highly effected. Bird would be forced to get into his second car after only a few laps, he was unable to get the fastest lap within this time.

Piquet’s high consumption was a concern for the team, but with Vergne holding up di Grassi and Buemi it seemed that the high energy usage could be managed in the second stint. By lap 10 he had a lead of 3.3 seconds. While Buemi, who was stuck at the back of the queue had the advantage of having 6% more energy than Vergne and 10% more than Piquet.

Further down the field, an incident between Antonio Felix da Costa and Jarno Trulli ended up resulting a race long battle. Da Costa initially made the move on the Italian up into the chicane, but Trulli cut the corner to retain the place, twice. With Justin Wilson catching behind, it was clear that da Costa was becoming frustrated. Eventually he overtook into turn 2, but found himself behind once again after the pit stops.

Buemi tried to use his fanboost to overtake, but di Grassi simply used his to defend at the same time while Vergne remain vunerable in front. On lap 17, Piquet was the first to pit with Vergne and di Grassi one lap later. Buemi used his free time to make progress, but it was ruined after issues with the e.Dams-Renault in the pits.

The e.dams misunderstood the information, believing the pit lane time limit was 68 seconds not 58 seconds. This resulted in Buemi and Nico Prost losing time, and for Prost, positions. After the confusion, Piquet still lead from di Grassi, Vergne, Buemi, Nick Heidfeld and Abt.

On lap 21 the issue for the leader was that he had a large gap but less power. While Trulli cut the chicane for the third time in order to block da Costa, this brought Wilson onto the back of the battle and he would also find himself held up by Trulli after da Costa made his way past.

It was continuing to be a terrible race for the Virgin Racing team as Bird retired his second car and Jaime Alguersuari found himself with a drive through penalty, losing him points. Bruno Senna was trying to recover after his spin that lost him his rear wing, but instead was penalised serving a drive through as a result. It was a disappointing end for the Brazilian.

The pit stop issue had meant that Buemi was now fighting Hiedfeld as di Grassi was also dropping Vergne. The gap between first and second now stood at 3.1 seconds on lap 26. However; Piquet now only had a 3% energy deficit.

As the race was coming to a close there were still drivers jostling for position as Loic Duval was now catching ninth placed Trulli and Wilson. His pace was halted however after the Dragon Racing car launched onto Trulli after a failed overtake on Wilson into the chicane. Trulli lost his rear wing and retired as a result.

On lap 32 with just three to go Piquet had been caught by di Grassi with a gap of 1.7 seconds, but the NEXTEV TCR driver hung on to take victory ahead of his championship rival. Meanwhile Vergne had been caught by Buemi. On the final lap Buemi went for the overtake into the chicane, lost out, cutting the chicane. He slowed initially to let Vergne through but the Frenchman did not speed up enough and Buemi retook the place. Meanwhile the slow exchange allowed Heidfeld to catch and further relegate Vergne. But Buemi became one of six cars to be under investigation.

So the win allows Piquet to extend his championship lead to 12 points over Buemi who himself has a 5 point lead over di Grassi as Formula E moves to London for the double header.