Paris ePrix: Di Grassi drives the race of a Champion, but Buemi isn’t far behind him…

Di Grassi extends his championship lead to 11 points but fans were robbed of a racing crescendo as the race finishes under the Safety Car.

2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship. Paris ePrix, Paris, France. Saturday 23 April 2016. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _89P5640A

The Paris ePrix saw the Championship leader cruise off into the distance, leaving the rest to squabble in his wake.

Sam Bird had no answer to Di Grassi off the line and fell to third behind his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne. A later mistake while under pressure from Buemi saw him do a 360 degree turn and drop further back to sixth.

Jean-Eric Vergne enjoyed his first ever podium with the DS Virgin Racing team at his home ePrix. It was the performance we would expect of JEV but haven’t been able to see recently.

Sebastien Buemi had another conservative qualifying, failing to make it to the Super Pole shoot out for two races in a row. He started in eighth but battled his way through the field, and after Bird’s mistake finished on the final podium stop. He is now eight points behind Di Grassi in the Championship with four races to go.

Teammate Nico Prost had a much-needed strong weekend, getting through to Super Pole and finishing just behind Buemi in fourth.

Oliver Turvey was pleased with the team’s best ever qualifying, and gained a place at the start. However issues with the car allowed others to pass him with ease, and he finished down in 13th. Nelson Piquet Jr experienced a loss of power on lap 15, forcing him to pit early and on to an energy-saving strategy for 28 laps. However the safety car didn’t appear in time to help him with his efforts, and he was forced to retire with no energy left.

Nick Heidfeld made a mistake in qualifying that saw him collide with Mike Conway and start from the back of the grid. He ultimately fought his way back up to 12th and picked up two points for the fastest lap of the race. Team mate Bruno Senna finished in the points in 9th place.

Robin Frijns and Antonio Felix da Costa gave the fans some spectacular close racing, giving each other just enough room on the track. They finished seventh and eighth respectively, though it could have resulted in a grandstand finish had the safety car gone in with a few laps to go.

Daniel Abt had a disappointing weekend after finishing on the podium in Long Beach. He finished 10th ahead of Jerome D’Ambrosio of Dragon Racing. His teammate Loic Duval had a race weekend to forget after qualifying down in 16th and retiring in the opening laps of the race (before being announced as a FanBoost winner. Awkward).

Simona de Silvestro finished in sixteenth after a poor getaway saw her get stuck behind Ma for much of the race. Ma was having a strong debut, qualifying in 15th and battling the field, however a mistake saw him end up in the barrier and brought out the safety car with seven laps to go.

The circuit won rave reviews from the drivers, and the rain that was forecast never came. The event received a mixed reaction from the fans, which may be down to teething problems with the series’ debut in Paris. The backdrop of Invalides and Le Tour Eiffel was beyond compare, and Paris should be proud of her successful ePrix.

Next up is the Berlin ePrix on 21st May 2016. It’s going to be a long month.

Paris ePrix 2016 Results

  1. Lucas Di Grassi ABT
  2. Jean-Eric Vergne DS VIRGIN
  3. Sebastien Buemi RENAULT
  4. Nico Prost RENAULT
  5. Stephane Sarrazin VENTURI
  6. Sam Bird DS VIRGIN
  7. Robin Frijns ANDRETTI
  8. Antonio Felix Da Costa TEAM AGURI
  9. Bruno Senna MAHINDRA
  10. Daniel Abt ABT
  11. Jerome D’Ambrosio DRAGON
  12. Nick Heidfeld MAHINDRA
  13. Oliver Turvey NEXTEV
  14. Mike Conway VENTURI
  15. Simona de Silvestro ANDRETTI

DNF: Qing Hua Ma, Nelson Piquet Jr, Loic Duval

Formula E returns with the Berlin ePrix on Saturday 21st May.

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