Vergne opens up commanding lead with thrilling victory


Credit: Formula E

Jean-Eric Vergne opened up a commanding lead in the driver’s championship after winning a thrilling race in Punta Del Este.

The Techeetah driver was under immense pressure from Lucas di Grassi for the majority of the race but managed to keep him and Sam Bird behind to take the chequered flag.

Di Grassi and Vergne even touched in the last few laps which allowed Bird to catch them, and led to a three-way tussle at the end.

But the Frenchman kept his cool to win and with Felix Rosenqvist only managing to finish in fifth it meant that Vergne will take a thirty point lead into the next race in Rome

Vergne had already received three points for pole position despite finishing bottom of the super pole shootout after all the other drivers to qualify in the top five were penalised.

And he capitalised on his good fortune as he led every lap of the race, despite di Grassi seemingly having the faster car.

The award for driver of the race however must surely go to Mitch Evans.

The New Zealander looked set for pole before being demoted to fifteenth due to a weight discrepancy in his car, but he bounced back in impressive style by storming through the field to just miss out on Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s first podium.

He managed an impressive pass on Rosenqvist and set the fastest lap on his way to fourth, and in doing so underlined the improvement Jaguar have achieved this season.

Rosenqvist himself completed an impressive recovery to make his way up to fifth, finishing just ahead of Alex Lynn who had lost out in the pit stops.

He wasn’t the only one to suffer from the lack of a minimum pit stop time, as it again proved controversial after Daniel Abt exited the pits without his seatbelts properly fastened.

It meant that he had to give up his third place position to pit again and have his crew correct the error, meaning he finished well outside of the points.

Oliver Turvey finished in seventh after slipping back slightly through the race, and he was ahead of the Dragon Racing cars of Jose Maria Lopez and Jerome d’Ambrosio who showed impressive pace throughout, with Maro Engel finishing off the points positions behind them.

It was a disastrous result for Renault e.dams however as Sebastien Buemi missed out on a fourth consecutive podium after hitting the wall while attempting an overtake.

The contact damaged his rear right wheel which effectively ended his race, while team-mate Nico Prost looked well off the pace as he finished down in fifteenth.

Their result not only makes Buemi’s task of winning the driver’s championship incredibly difficult, but means that Renault’s three year reign as team’s champion looks set to be ended.

POSDRIVERNATTEAM
1Jean-Eric VergneFRATecheetah
2Lucas di GrassiBRAAudi Sport ABT Schaeffler
3Sam BirdGBRDS Virgin Racing
4Mitch EvansNZLPanasonic Jaguar Racing
5Felix RosenqvistSWEMahindra Racing
6Alex LynnGBRDS Virgin Racing
7Oliver TurveyGBRNIO
8Jose Maria LopezARGDragon Racing
9Jerome d'AmbrosioBELDragon Racing
10Maro EngelGERVenturi
11Antonio Felix da CostaPORMS&AD Andretti
12Andre LottererGERTecheetah
13Luca FilippiITANIO
14Daniel AbtGERAudi Sport ABT Schaeffler
15Nico ProstFRARenault e.dams
16Tom BlomqvistGBRMS&AD Andretti
17Edorado MortaraSUIVenturi
DNFSebastien BuemiSUIRenault e.dams
DNFNelson Piquet JrBRAPanasonic Jaguar Racing
DNFNick HeidfeldGERMahindra Racing