Buemi returns to form with Monaco win

by Scott Douglas

Sebastien Buemi fought off a late charge from title rival Lucas di Grassi to win the Monaco ePrix.

Buemi led for the entire race but was chased down by a resurgent di Grassi with ten laps to go.

The Brazilian closed the gap to under two tenths, and on the second last corner considered a late lunge on Buemi, but thought better of it.

Di Grassi also appeared to forget to use his Fanboost, which might have been enough to take him into the lead.

Instead it was Buemi who took the chequered flag and with it extend his lead at the top of the championship.

It capped a near perfect day for the Swiss after he secured pole earlier on, and helped him bounce back from his disappointing performance in the previous race in Mexico.

Speaking afterwards he said, “Honestly, I did not have much more energy, I finished right on the limit and Lucas was very quick today.

“I’m really happy, that’s the race you really want to win, and the race you want to start on pole and we did both those things. 

“It’s good points after Mexico which was a hard one, so I’m really happy.”

For his part di Grassi bemoaned the lack of overtaking opportunities the track offers, saying it was just not possible to get past.

“Here is very difficult to overtake,” he said. “Track position is very important. I had a faster car today than Seb but he was in front, so I tried on the last lap inside, outside, many different ways, but it was just not possible to overtake.

“I did my best today, we collected good points, and there will be other good fights with Seb in the future.”

Behind the front two Nick Heidfeld achieved a Monaco podium in his fourth different category, having also finished in the top three in the principality in F3, F3000 and Formula 1.

It came after an opportunistic start saw him make three places going into the first corner, saying “It was my target to finish on the podium, but starting in eighth I thought it would be a difficult task.

“I had a very good start and overtook a couple of cars, and in the end despite having a big gap to my rear I didn’t believe it until I crossed the line.”

He also benefited from a crash between Jean-Eric Vergne and Nelson Piquet Jr which proved to be the only flash point in the race.

Vergne’s Techeetah was clearly faster than Piquet, and attempted to pass him around the outside of the turn three chicane.

He had drawn ahead of the Brazilian when Piquet ran him towards the barrier, destroying the front left of Vergne’s car.

The Frenchman was understandably furious, but despite the aggressive move there was no investigation into Piquet’s conduct.

The crash brought out the safety car, during which every driver stopped for their second car.

It took out any element of strategy, and due to the difficulty in passing around the tight layout, most drivers stayed in the position they emerged from the pits.

Maro Engel finished in fifth behind Piquet, having withstood immense pressure from Felix Rosenqvist for most of the race.

Daniel Abt finished close behind in seventh, with Esteban Gutierrez in eighth, although the Mexican is subject to a steward’s investigation for an unsafe release from his stop.

Antonio Felix da Costa grabbed MS Amlin Andretti’s first points since Hong Kong in ninth and Nico Prost rounded off the top ten having recovered from nineteenth on the grid.

Further down the grid it was a disappointing day for DS Virgin Racing, who despite a strong qualifying failed to get either car in to the top ten.

Sam Bird clipped the barriers early on while attempting to close up Engel, and Jose Maria Lopez damaged his rear wing in the opening laps.

Both incidents led to length repairs, which effectively ended their races.

It was a similarly bad day for FF Dragon Racing, who suffered technical issues on the cars of Loic Duval and Jerome d’Ambrosio which saw them both retire.

1Sebastien BuemiSUIRenault e.dams
2Lucas di GrassiBRAAbt Audi Schaeffler
3Nick HeidfeldGERMahindra Racing
4Nelson Piquet JrBRANextEV TIO
5Maro EngelGERVenturi
6Felix RosenqvistSWEMahindra Racing
7Daniel AbtGERAbt Audi Schaeffler
8Esteban GutierrezMEXTecheetah
9Antonio Felix da CostaPORMS Amlin Andretti
10Nico ProstFRARenault e.dams
11Mitch EvansNZLPanasonic Jaguar Racing
12Robin FrijnsNEDMS Amlin Andretti
13Oliver TurveyGBRNextEV TIO
14Adam CarrollGBRPanasonic Jaguar Racing
15Stephane SarrazinFRAVenturi
DNFJose Maria LopezARGDS Virgin Racing
DNFJerome d'AmbrosioBELFF Dragon Racing
DNFLoic DuvalFRAFF Dragon Racing
DNFSam BirdGBRDS Virgin Racing
DNFJean-Eric VergneFRAVenturi

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