Hong Kong ePrix: Current Champion Buemi takes first victory of the season

Buemi starts as he means to go on with a calm drive to victory as those around him fell away

fe-uruguay-buemi
2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship. Punta del Este ePrix, Punta del Este, Uruguay. Saturday 19 December 2015. Photo: Jed Leicester/LAT/Formula E

 

The first race of the new season was hectic, undulating and claimed its fair share of victims with a carnage-filled opening lap.

Ma Qing Hua was the filling in an ABT sandwich, causing damage to Abt’s rear wing and Di Grassi’s front wing, and sending the Techeetah driver into the barriers.

The NEXTEV were impressive in qualifying and claimed a surprise front-row lock out. The cars got away cleanly as DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird squeezed new teammate Jose Maria Lopez to the edge of the circuit to claim third place. Lopez was best of the rookies in qualifying but in the race soon started to fall down the order before ultimately ending up in the barriers.

Leader Nelson Piquet had built up a substantial lead to the others, but had to take evasive action as he came across the DS Virgin car of Lopez. He followed the Argentinian into the barrier, handing the lead to Bird who along with Buemi had got past second-placed Oliver Turvey.

Techeetah’s day went from bad to worse as Jean-Eric Vergne was forced to pit early for his second car, and ultimately couldn’t make it to the end. After a promising showing at testing and in qualifying, the team came away with no points as the Frenchman was unable to conserve enough energy to make it to the end of the race.

Felix Rosenqvist had an eventful debut with Mahindra. He was running nose to tail with teammate Heidfeld in the early stages of the race, until a spin under braking saw him embed himself into the barrier. He ultimately was awarded a point for fastest lap of the race.

To maintain his lead, Bird had to ensure he came out in front of Buemi after the pit stop. He went one lap longer, but was held in the pits in a slow stop and fell a lap behind the field. He managed to unlap himself from the leaders but ultimately finished down in 13th.

Lucas Di Grassi and Robin Frijns fought their way up from the back of the grid after accidents in qualifying. Di Grassi was forced to pit early for a new nose and was still able to challenge Buemi for the lead in the closing stages of the race.

It appears the Buemi-Di Grassi fight isn’t yet over…

  1. Sebastien Buemi RENAULT E.DAMS
  2. Lucas Di Grassi ABT SCHAEFFLER AUDI
  3. Nick Heidfeld MAHINDRA
  4. Nico Prost RENAULT E.DAMS
  5. Antonio Felix Da Costa MS AMLIN ANDRETTI
  6. Robin Frijns MS AMLIN ANDRETTI
  7. Jerome D’Ambrosio FARADAY FUTURE DRAGON RACING
  8. Oliver Turvey NEXTEV NIO
  9. Maro Engel VENTURI
  10. Stephane Sarrazin VENTURI
  11. Nelson Piquet Jr NEXTEV NIO
  12. Adam Carroll JAGUAR
  13. Sam Bird DS VIRGIN RACING
  14. Loic Duval FARADAY FUTURE DRAGON RACING
  15. Felix Rosenqvist MAHINDRA

DNF: Daniel Abt; Jean-Eric Vergne; Mitch Evans; Jose Maria Lopez; Qing Hua Ma

Formula E returns on 12th November for the inaugural Marrakesh ePrix

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