from SAM MALLINSON
MONACO (May 13 2017) – Brazilian Sebastien Buemi withstood enormous pressure from Lucas di Grassi in Monaco to claim his fourth FIA Formula E Championship win this season, extending his points lead to 15.
From his first Julius Baer pole position for 2016-17, Buemi made a perfect start. And soon established a comfortable lead over his title rival, who was easing away from Nelson Piquet Jr.
The NextEV NIO driver had no such luxury, as the TECHEETAH of Jean-Eric Vergne was swarming all over him. The Frenchman clearly was anxious to make a move and stop the front two from getting away. In his desperation, he tried an ambitious move around the outside of the Turn 3 hairpin.
The cars were side-by-side and banged wheels, sending Vergne crashing into the Tech-Pro barriers. Remarkably Piquet survived having only lost third place to the Mahindra of Nick Heidfeld. But Vergne’s car was heavily damaged and the Qualcomm Safety Car was deployed as it was recovered.
After the success of the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’s tactical gamble in pitting di Grassi early last time out in Mexico, all teams opted to follow the Brazilian into the pits for the mandatory car change during the caution period. This was the prelude to a sensational finish that had 18,000+ fans who packed the grandstands on the edge of their seats. After using his FanBoost to briefly open up the lead to 1.6s, Buemi could only watch his mirrors as di Grassi homed in over the closing stages.
As they crossed the line to start the 51st and final lap, Buemi’s lead was down to just 0.4s.
But Lucas di Grassi, despite having the leader in his sights, couldn’t quite get close enough to attempt a passing move. Buemi duly notched up his 10th win in the all-electric racing series, defending his Monaco ePrix crown in the process. Mahindra Racing’s Nick Heidfeld steered his M3Electro to an impressive third place.
“In the first stint I managed to pull a little gap, but Lucas was using a bit less energy than me,” Sebastien said. “At the end we both finished with nothing left.”
The advances in Formula E technology mean the cars are faster than in season one and the races significantly longer.
For a visual representation of how much faster, click on
The FIA Formula E Championship returns May 20 with the Qatar Airways Paris ePrix, won last year by Lucas di Grassi.
The FIA Formula E Championship is the world’s first fully-electric single-seater racing series, competing on the streets against the backdrop of some of the most iconic cities – including Hong Kong, Marrakesh, Buenos Aires, Monaco, Paris, New York and Montreal. The championship represents a vision for the future of the motor industry, serving as a platform to showcase the latest innovations in electric vehicle technology and alternative energy solutions. Future seasons will see the regulations open up further allowing manufacturers to focus on the development of motor and battery components. In turn, that will filter down to everyday contemporary electric road vehicles.
The 2016/17 FIA Formula E Championship sees go wheel-to-wheel in nine cities spanning five continents in the fight to be crowned Formula E champion. The inaugural season of Formula E sparked into life in September 2014 around the grounds of the Beijing’s Olympic Park. The third season of the electric street racing series started on October 9 in Hong Kong, with the season finale double-header taking place in Montreal on July 29 & 30.