Long Beach ePrix: Lucas di Grassi avenges Mexico loss and storms to the win

Lucas di Grassi took no prisoners as he stormed past Sam Bird for the lead and never looked back

Long Beach ePrix Lucas di Grassi winner thumbs up Michelin Man
Michelin Man gives race winner Lucas Di Grassi the thumbs up. Credit: Cal Mathieson

After such heartache at the Mexico ePrix, Lucas di Grassi came back stronger to win the Long Beach ePrix. He now leads the Drivers Championship by one point ahead of Sebastien Buemi.

Venturi’s Stephane Sarrazin had a strong race to finish in second ahead of Daniel Abt in third.

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Renault eDams had an unfortunate afternoon with both drivers finishing outside of the points. Buemi came together with Robin Frijns at turn seven, resulting in a broken rear wing for the Dutchman and a front wing for the Swiss. Both drivers tried to stay out until the halfway point, but after being shown the black flag were forced into early pitstops and a race of energy saving to get to the end.

Nico Prost was running fifth before the pitstops, however was handed a drive through penalty for being under the minimum pitstop time. He finished just outside of the points in 11th.

Sam Bird inherited pole after Antonio Felix da Costa was disqualified for low tyre pressures. After losing the lead to Di Grassi he then went off at turn five, but recovered to finish in 6th place. His teammate Jean-Eric Vergne finished in 13th.

Da Costa was out to avenge his disqualification and was battling his way through the field and was running in eighth place before he retired with a problem.

His teammate Duran also had a race to forget, qualifying in 17th and finished in 14th after a drive through penalty.

Mahindra had their strongest ever result in Formula E with a P4 and P5 finish by Nick Heidfeld and Bruno Senna.

Speaking on the grid, Heidfeld said, “If I stay where I am now, it would not be bad but of course if you are that close to the podium, I target the podium.

“The first corner here is not easy, it’s very tight. They’ve put some tyres on it to stop us from cutting it because in Mexico it was a mess, but hopefully in the first corner with so many cars nobody needs to go there. This will be crucial, the first corner and then hopefully we get into racing quickly, have good energy which we struggled on in Mexico and bring the car home in a good position.”

Dragon drivers D’Ambrosio and Duval had a strong race to bring the cars home in 7th and 8th, an amazing recovery for the team after they started 9th and 16th.

It may have been Oliver Turvey’s birthday weekend, but it’s one he’ll soon want to forget. The Brit qualified in 14th place ahead of teammate Nelson Piquet, who was then handed a 10- place penalty.

Speaking on the grid, he said, “It’s great to be here in Long Beach, my first time. I think it’s a really nice track, quite fast and obviously quite challenging. This morning I think qualifying was not as good as what we wanted. I did my quickest lap of the weekend in qualifying and went three tenths quicker than practice.

“I think it was as good as we could do with the car we’ve got. The race is going to hopefully we can be a bit better. I’m hoping to get in the points. It’s obviously not what you want to aim for but I think with what we’ve got at the minute that’s all we can aim for.”

Turvey finished in 12th, while Nelson Piquet crashed with seven laps to go, causing a safety car.

The final two points scoring positions were claimed by Simona de Silvestro, her first points in the series after being so close so many times, and Venturi driver Mike Conway.

Race results

  1. Lucas DiGrassi, ABT Schaeffler
  2. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi
  3. Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler,
  4. Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra
  5. Bruno Senna, Mahindra
  6. Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing
  7. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing
  8. Loic Duval, Dragon Racing
  9. Simona de Silvestro, Amlin Andretti
  10. Mike Conway, Venturi
  11. Nico Prost, Renault eDams
  12. Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV
  13. Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing
  14. Salvador Duran, Team Aguri
  15. Robin Frijns, Amlin Andretti
  16. Sebastien Buemi, Renault eDams

DNF: Antonio Felix da Costa, Nelson Piquet Jr

Formula E returns on 23rd April for the Paris ePrix

 

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