Sublime Buemi dominates Beijing opener

by Paul Hensby

Sebastien Buemi was in sublime form as the Renault e.dams driver dominated the season opening FIA Formula E race in Beijing on Saturday.

The Swiss driver consolidated his pole position, and survived two full course yellows to finish more than eleven seconds clear of last year’s winner of the Beijing ePrix Lucas di Grassi of Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport.

The first full course yellow (FCY) was caused when Simona de Silvestro crashed her Amlin Andretti machine for the second time of the day, eliminating herself on the second lap, while the second FCY was brought out after Antonio Felix da Costa crashed out after a collision with Jacques Villeneuve.

Nicolas Prost was on course to complete the podium in the second e.dams entry and was keeping di Grassi honest in second, but a collapsed rear wing after a small hit against a wall saw the Frenchman drop out of the race with just four laps remaining.

Prost’s demise promoted Nick Heidfeld onto the podium for Mahindra Racing, who had to hold off the challenge of Dragon Racing duo Loic Duval and Jerome d’Ambrosio in the closing stages after running second early on after a good start. Heidfeld dropped behind both di Grassi and Prost during the pit stop cycle after a slow pit stop.

Oliver Turvey took advantage of the second FCY to move up the order after being one of the last drivers to pit, claiming sixth for NEXTEV TCR despite starting down in fifteenth, while fellow Briton Sam Bird claimed seventh despite appearing to struggle with power energy usage throughout the race in his DS Virgin Racing entry.

Nathanael Berthon was another driver to move up the order due to a late stop during the FCY for team-mate Felix da Costa’s crash to claim eighth for Team Aguri, and was the leading rookie driver in the field.

Daniel Abt had a relatively quiet race in the second Abt Schlaeffler Audi Sport machine and finished ninth, while Stephane Sarrazin claimed the final point for Venturi Racing as he passed Robin Frijns on the run to the finishing line as the Dutchman slowed considerably on the final lap after being told he had no power left on his dashboard.

Season one champion Nelson Piquet Jr was on course to finish tenth, but the NEXTEV TCR driver stopped on track briefly after the second FCY, and eventually was classified fifteenth, two laps down on the race winner.

But no one was able to stay with Buemi, who secured maximum points by taking the win, pole position and fastest lap in Beijing.

Beijing ePrix Race Result

19Sebastien BuemiSWIRenault e.Dams50m08.835s
211Lucas di GrassiBRZABT Schaeffler Audi Sport+11.006s
323Nick HeidfeldGERMahindra+15.681s
46Loic DuvalFRADragon Racing+16.009s
57Jerome d'AmbrosioBELDragon Racing+16.514s
688Oliver TurveyGBRNEXTEV TCR+39.466s
72Sam BirdGBRDS Virgin Racing+47.531s
877Nathanael BerthonFRATeam Aguri+58.620s
966Daniel AbtGERABT Schaeffler Audi Sport+1m03.351s
104Stephane SarrazinFRAVenturi+1m07.814s
1127Robin FrijnsNEDAndretti Autosport+1m09.260s
1225Jean-Eric VergneFRADS Virgin Racing+1m31.040s
1321Bruno SennaBRZMahindra+1m50.833s
1412Jacques VilleneuveCANVenturi+1 Lap
151Nelson Piquet JrBRZNEXTEV TCR+2 Laps
RET8Nicolas ProstFRARenault e.DamsRetired
RET55Antonio Felix da CostaPORTeam AguriRetired
RET28Simona de SilvestroSWIAndretti AutosportRetired

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