Formula E: Di Grassi wins to take championship lead as Buemi recovers to fourth

Lucas Di Grassi took victory in the first race in Montreal to take the championship down to a final race decider, with a furious Sebastien Buemi coming home in fourth, to give Di Grassi a six point advantage. Jean-Eric Vergne and Stephane Sarrazin complete a Teecheetah 2-3.

Formula E: Di Grassi wins to take championship lead as Buemi recovers to fourth
Di Grassi now leads the championship, for the first time this season, by six points with one round to go. (Image Credit: Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport)

Lucas di Grassi took victory in the Formula E Montreal ePrix, to give himself a six point advantage over title rival Sebastien Buemi, who fought back from 12th on the grid to finish in fourth place. 

Di Grassi narrowly took victory from a feisty Jean-Eric Vergne, with Stephane Sarrazin completing the podium places, and making a Teecheetah 2-3 on the podium.

Buemi was furious after the race, firstly with Sarrazin after a robust defence from the Frenchman on the 35th and final lap and then with both Antonio Felix da Costa and Andretti team-mate Robin Frijins.

On the first lap, Frijins dived up the inside at Turn 2, and broke Buemi's suspension, causing his steering wheel to be leaning to the right, after Buemi had dropped to P16 from his P12 grid slot. 

The Swiss driver then began to battle through the field, passing the mid-field runners before coming up against title rival Di Grassi's team-mate Daniel Abt. 

On lap 10, a full course-yellow was deployed for Nick Heidfeld's damaged Mahindra after an attempt at a move on Loic Duval at Turn 6 went wrong and he abandoned the car in the final chicane.

As the entire field, except Adam Carroll and Jerome D'Ambrosio pitted, Abt drove slowly down the pit-lane, to try and hold Buemi up. 

Buemi's E.Dams garage was located at the end of the pit-lane and as the minimum pit-stop time of 57s elapsed, he was waved away, just ahead of Abt. 

The German then rammed the rear of the E.Dams as Buemi slowed to get to full-course yellow speed, and the incident was noted by the stewards. 

He was in ninth after the stop, having been around 18 seconds behind leader Di Grassi.

Meanwhile up front Di Grassi was relatively untroubled throughout the first part of the race, enjoying a comfortable buffer of around 4s to the chasing pack, using only slightly more energy in the process.

Lopez safety car bunches the field

Buemi was quickly into his stride in his hastily built second car, after he wrote off the old one in a heavy practice crash, and despatched both a struggling Mitch Evans, and Oliver Turvey for sixth, with team-mate Nico Prost in fifth. 

However, on lao 25, Buemi's Toyota WEC team-mate Jose Maria Lopez got a snap of oversteer on the exit of Turn 6 and smashed into the wall, bringing out a safety car. 

The safety car remained out until the end of lap 27, creating an eight lap sprint for the finish, with the order being Di Grassi, Vergne, Sarrazin, Felix Rosenqvist, Prost, Buemi and Abt. 

On the restart, the two leaders escaped up the road, as Buemi was just about waved through by Prost to aid his title challenge at Turn 2. 

Rosenqvist, giving pressure to Sarrazin, hit the wall on the exit of Turn 14 and immediately slowed with damage to the left-rear of the Mahindra, falling back to evantually finish in 10th place. 

Abt, along with Buemi was easily able to pass the stricken Rosenqvist while Prost had more trouble doing so, losing Buemi his rear-gunner. 

The championship leader was able to reel in Sarrazin, and on the final lap in the 90 degree section of the track around Turn's 6/7/8 the two went side-by-side with Sarrazin just about coming out ahead.

Despite Vergne looking to make the move for the lead, which would have been his first in FE, he failed to offer one, and came home in second place, behind the jubilant Di Grassi, who now tops the standings, with one race to go for the first time this season. 

Bird stars with drive to sixth

A disastorous qualifying saw New York double race winner Sam Bird start 18th for DS Virgin Racing, but some swift work at the stops saw him come home in sixth place, ahead of Prost, who is yet to claim a podium this season. 

The other points scorers were Evans for Jaguar in eighth, Frijins for Andretti and Rosenqvist hanging on to snatch the final point in 10th. 

 

Montreal ePrix - Race 1 provisional classification

Position Driver Team Time/Gap Points
1st Lucas di Grassi Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport 35 Laps 25
2nd Jean-Eric Vergne Teecheetah +0.350s 18
3rd Stephane Sarrazin Teecheetah +7.869s 15
4th Sebastien Buemi Renault E.Dams +8.256s 12
5th Daniel Abt Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport +8.592s 10
6th Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing +8.913s 8
7th Nicolas Prost Renault E.Dams +10.058s 6
8th Mitch Evans Jaguar Racing +10.457s 4
9th Robin Frijins Andretti +15.836s 2
10th Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Racing +16.764s 1
11th Tom Dillman Venturi +19.320s 0
12th Jerome D'Ambrosio Faraday Future Dragon Racing +20.229s 0
13th Maro Engel Venturi +22.314s 0
14th Nelson Piquet Jr NEXTEV NIO +23.145s 0
15th Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti +34.786s 0
16th Oliver Turvey NEXTEV NIO +46.996s 0
17th Adam Carroll Jaguar  +49.612 0
DNF Loic Duval Faraday Future Dragon Racing Not Classifed 0
DNF Jose Maria Lopez DS Virgin Racing Not Classified 0
DNF Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing Not Classified 0

 


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