Buemi draws level on points with London pole

2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship. London ePrix, Battersea Park, London, United Kingdom. Saturday 2 July 2016. Photo: Andrew Ferraro/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _FER4574

Sebastien Buemi will start the final round of the Formula E championship level on points with his title rival Lucas di Grassi.

He managed to get pole position around Battersea Park, and with it three points to eliminate the deficit he had to di Grassi.

He’ll also have a rear gunner for the race, after Nico Prost continued his good form of yesterday to pip di Grassi to second by just three hundreds of a second.

Prost topped group one of qualifying, putting in a time that was just over a second in front of the DS Virgin Racing car of Sam Bird. There were just eight one-thousandths of a second between Bird, Nelson Piquet Jr and Loic Duval behind him, meaning they’ll line up 9th, 10th and 11th on the grid.

Di Grassi went out in the second qualifying group, putting in a good enough time for second, although he was already complaining about the speed deficit between his Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport and the Renault e.dams.

Buemi would eclipse both di Grassi and Prost though, storming to the top of the time sheets with a magnificent 1m22.106 lap, scraping the wall on his way round the track.

He was joined in the top five by Nick Heidfeld and Daniel Abt, and it looked like it was going to stay that way after Bruno Senna failed to match his performance from yesterday in group four.

However Oliver Turvey had different ideas, and put in a superb lap to drag his uncompetitive NextEV TCR into third place. This pushed Abt out, and meant that it would be Heidfeld, Prost and the two title contenders who joined Turvey in the super pole shoot-out.

Heidfeld made a mess of his lap, meaning he would start fifth, and while di Grassi put in a solid effort he was just pipped by Prost, despite the Frenchman admitting that he made “a mistake on every corner”.

It then left the pressure on Buemi’s shoulders to see if he could match his time from earlier, but he duly delivered. He once again showed his dominance to go nine-tenths clear of his teammate, and put himself in the best possible position to win the championship.

Speaking afterwards Buemi said, “I will try to win the race like always, but its good to be on the same points as Lucas now for the race.”

Di Grassi meanwhile was bemoaning the lack of pace in his car, and admitted it would be hard to catch him in the race. He said, “Like I said before the Renaults are impossible to catch, my lap was a very good one, but the Renaults are flying today. I did my best today which is just behind them.”

“It’s going to need a little bit of strategy, a bit of luck. On pure pace their car is impossible to beat, but I’m going to try. Hopes are up there and we’re going to fight until the very end.”

Di Grassi and Buemi are now tied on 153 points going into the final race, with Renault have a nearly unassailable 43 point lead over Abt.

Battersea Park Race 2 Qualifying Result

1Sebastien BuemiSUIRenault e.dams1:22.033
2Nico ProstFRARenault e.dams1:22.948
3Lucas di GrassiBRAAbt Schaeffler Audi Sport1:22.975
4Oliver TurveyGBRNextEV TCR1:23.885
5Nick HeidfeldGERMahindra Racing1:24.827
6Daniel AbtGERAbt Schaeffler Audi Sport1:23.494
7Jean-Eric VergneFRADS Virgin Racing1:23.783
8Sam BirdGBRDS Virgin Racing1:23.930
9Nelson Piquet JrBRANextEV TCR1:23.937
10Loic DuvalFRADragon Racing1:23.938
11Jerome d'AmbrosioBELDragon Racing1:23.952
12Mike ConwayGBRVenturi1:24.054
13Bruno SennaBRAMahindra Racing1:24.171
14Antonio Felix da CostaPORTeam Aguri1:24.273
15Stephane SarrazinFRAVenturi1:24.311
16Robin FrijnsNEDAndretti1:24.655
17Simona de SilvestroSWIAndretti1:24.823
18Ma Qing HuaCHITeam Aguri1:26.259