Punta ePrix: Buemi bounces back from qualifying error

It may not have been the most exciting race of the season, but the third round of Formula E sets up an exciting Championship battle between Sebastian Buemi and Lucas di Grassi.

2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship. Punta del Este ePrix, Punta del Este, Uruguay. Saturday 19 December 2015. Photo: Jed Leicester/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _L1_5651
2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship. Punta del Este ePrix, Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Photo: Jed Leicester/LAT/Formula E

A tricky track to master and conquer, rewarding full commitment and punishing small mistakes, the Punta del Este circuit saw many an incident during the various sessions, with Sebastian Buemi ultimately taking top honours in Uruguay.

Qualifying

Only 18 cars took to the track after the Trulli team withdrew from the series earlier this week.

Last year’s pole sitter, Jean-Eric Vergne, found himself starting last on the grid after a mistake on his flying lap resulted in an uncompetitive time.

Jacques Villeneuve suffered a heavy crash in the final seconds of Q4. The damaged proved to be too much for the team to fix in the short time between sessions, and Villeneuve was unable to start the ePrix.

Oliver Turvey and Nelson Piquet made great strides this weekend, and the team were hopeful of a double points finish. They started 10th and 12th respectively.

Sebastien Buemi Sam Bird Jerome D'Ambrosio Loic Duval Lucas di Grassi fight it out in Super Pole
FIA Formula E Championship 2015/16. Julius Baer Punta Del Este ePrix, Punta Del Este, Uruguay.
Qualifying Top 5 Drivers. Photo: Adam Warner / LAT/FE

Super Pole saw Buemi, Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Sam Bird fight it out over the top five positions. While many tipped Buemi to take pole, a mistake on both his and di Grassi’s final flying laps saw the Dragons secure a front-row lock up, with Sam Bird just behind them.

Punta del Este ePrix

FanBoost winners: Jean-Eric Vergne; Stephane Sarrazin; Sam Bird.

The nature of the circuit meant that any part of the track that wasn’t part of the racing line was sandy and slippery. Those starting on the left hand (or odd-numbered) side all made far better starts than those on the right.

Sam Bird jumped Loic Duval to take second place, and Buemi jumped up from fifth to third in the first four laps before taking the lead of the race from Jerome D’Ambrosio on lap 8.

After their first podium finish last time out in Putrajaya, it was a weekend to forget for Mahindra.Bruno Senna treated us to the first tyre-change pit stop in Formula E history after suffering a puncture in the opening laps. His day went from bad to worse as his first car ended up in the wall, forcing him to pit on lap 17. He finished 16th, with stand-in team-mate Oliver Rowland finishing in 13th.

Lucas di Grassi managed to jump both Dragon Racing cars during the pit stops to take second place. A mistake from Buemi which saw him slow down prematurely for the Full Course Yellow saw him gain ground on the eDams driver, with the gap down to less than two seconds as we approached the final laps. However the Swiss found some extra pace and Di Grassi had to settle for second place.

Sam Bird’s race looked redemptive after a mistake in practise meant that his second car had to be rebuilt, however he soon encountered problems after his pit stop and retired from the race.

Things weren’t much better for NEXTEV, who had hoped for a double points finish. Oliver Turvey was given a drive through penalty for being two seconds under the minimum pit stop time and could only finish 12th.

Nelson Piquet Jr and Jean-Eric Vergne had a spectacular battle over 8th place. Vergne made an ambitious lunge around the Brazilian, but locked his brakes approaching the corner allowing Piquet back through. However, a few corners later Piquet hit the wall and crashed out of the race.

Jean-Eric Vergne recovered well from qualifying to finish seventh after Piquet’s crash and jumping Daniel Abt on the final lap to the race. The Dragon drivers once again had some nice close racing, thankfully this time with no incidents. Simon de Silvestro had her best result of the season, finishing just outside the points with team-mate Robin Frijins finishing in tenth and claiming the final point.

FIA Formula E Championship 2015/16. Julius Baer Punta Del Este ePrix, Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Race. Punta Del Este, Uruguay, South America. Saturday 19 December 2015 Photo: Adam Warner / LAT/FE ref: Digital Image _L5R2494
FIA Formula E Championship 2015/16. Julius Baer Punta Del Este ePrix, Punta Del Este, Uruguay.
Race.Photo: Adam Warner / LAT/FE

Results

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Sebastien Buemi Renault eDams
Lucas di Grassi ABT Schaeffler
Jerome D’Ambrosio Dragon Racing
Loic Duval Dragon Racing
Nicolas Prost Renault eDams
Antonio Felix Da Costa Team Aguri
Jean-Eric Vergne DS Virgin Racing
Daniel Abt ABT Schaeffler
Stephane Sarrazin Venturi
Robin Frijns Andretti
Simona de Silvestro Andretti
Oliver Turvey NEXTEV
Oliver Rowland Mahindra
Nathanael Berthon Team Aguri
Nelson Piquet Jr NEXTEV
Bruno Senna Mahindra
Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things that had us buzzing

  • We still really like hearing Race Control. The French teams speaking in French on team radio, not so much. But that’s because we only speak English and German. We’re nosy and don’t like it when we don’t know what’s going on.
  • The anticipation of JEV’s big move on Piquet. And it didn’t disappoint.
  • Super Pole bringing some surprises to the table, unlike last time out in Putrajaya.
  • Seeing the FanBoost graphic for JEV’s move on Sarrazin.

Formula E returns for the Buenos Aires ePrix on Saturday 6th February.

Read our December news round-up here.

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