Buemi wins in Paris as di Grassi crashes out

Credit: Formula E

Sebastien Buemi opened up another huge gap at the top of the driver’s championship as he won Renault’s home ePrix in Paris.

The Swiss driver led off the start but had to contend with a full course yellow and safety car period before leading Jose Maria Lopez and Nick Heidfeld across the line.

Buemi’s title rival Lucas di Grassi meanwhile had a torrid race, crashing twice, getting a drive-through penalty for a short pit stop and finishing well outside of the points.

His first incident occurred after he attempted to overtake Antonio Felix da Costa around the outside, but despite not being fully in front di Grassi chose to close the door.

It immediately put da Costa out of the race, and although the Brazilian was able to limp back to the pits, he subsequently crashed his second car while attempting to get the point for fastest lap.

His poor showing means that Buemi now has a 43 point gap at the top of the driver’s standings at the half way point of the championship.

Jean-Eric Vergne also crashed out of the race, his car seemingly suffering from a steering failure as the local driver was running in second place.

The crash immediately lifted the pressure on Buemi, who had been holding off the Techeetah driver for the majority of the race.

Speaking afterwards Buemi said, “This one was maybe a little bit easier, but to be honest Vergne was putting me under big pressure at the start.

“I had to push very hard to make sure I could stay in front, and then really in the second car I had to push even harder and he made a mistake. That gave me a bit of clean air [behind me], but quickly after there was a safety car and I had to start from zero.

“We know that when we have to save less energy we are not as competitive as when we save a lot.”

Behind Buemi, Lopez drove solidly to secure his best ever Formula E finish in second, with Heidfeld making it two podiums in two races after finishing third in Monaco.

His Mahindra Racing team-mate Felix Rosenqvist was just behind him in fourth, with Nico Prost finishing fifth having started down in ninth.

And it was relief for MS Amlin Andretti as Robin Frijns secured their first points since the opening race by securing sixth.

There was a worry that a five second penalty for speeding under the full course yellows might cost Frijns the chance of finishing in the top ten, but he was saved by Daniel Abt’s failing car.

With the race finishing under the safety car following di Grassi’s second crash, his Abt Schaeffler Audi team-mate started to slow with a technical fault.

The drivers behind were hesitant to pass under yellows, allowing Frijns to cross the line well over five seconds ahead of the next driver.

Esteban Gutierrez was not so lucky, and having received a time penalty for a similar infringement he was demoted to twelfth.

The problems for Gutierrez and Abt promoted Nelson Piquet Jr to seventh, with Tom Dillman impressing in his first ePrix by grabbing eighth and Stephane Sarrazin scoring another point for Venturi in coming from the back of the grid to finish tenth.

And it was more points for Panasonic Jaguar Racing who made it three races in a row in the top ten with Mitch Evans ending up in ninth.

Further down the order Sam Bird made up for what had been a turgid weekend by setting the fastest lap of the race and getting the extra point for it.

1Sebastien BuemiSUIRenault e.dams
2Jose Maria LopezARGDS Virgin Racing
3Nick HeidfeldGERMahindra Racing
4Felix RosenqvistSWEMahindra Racing
5Nico ProstFRARenault e.dams
6Robin FrijnsNEDMS Amlin Andretti
7Nelson Piquet JrBRANextEV TIO
8Tom DillmanFRAVenturi
9Mitch EvansNZLPanasonic Jaguar Racing
10Stephane SarrazinFRAVenturi
11Oliver TurveyGBRNextEV TIO
12Esteban GutierrezMEXTecheetah
13Daniel AbtGERAbt Schaeffler Audi
14Mike ConwayGBRFF Dragon Racing
15Adam CarrollGBRPanasonic Jaguar Racing
16Sam BirdGBRDS Virgin Racing
DNFLucas di GrassiBRAAbt Schaeffler Audi
DNFJerome d'AmbrosioBELFF Dragon Racing
DNFJean-Eric VergneFRAVenturi
DNFAntonio Felix da CostaPORMS Amlin Andretti