Sebastian Buemi has won the Monaco ePrix, his fourth victory of the year, after a tense race-long battle with championship rival Lucas Di Grassi.
Mahindra’s Nick Heidfeld scored an excellent third on the weekend of his 40th birthday, with Nelson Piquet surviving a collision with Jean-Eric Vergne to take fourth.
Buemi started the race on pole with Di Grassi alongside him and built up a gap of five seconds before a collision between Nelson Piquet and Jean-Eric Vergne brought out the safety car nearing half distance.
As a result, Buemi lost the gap that he had built up, and Di Grassi was able to increase the pressure in the closing stages, reducing the gap down to under a second with just a few laps to go.
Despite Buemi noticeably having to lift and coast through the swimming pool section, Di Grassi appeared not to use his fan boost so was unable to find a way past. Di Grassi attempted a late move at Rascasse, but Buemi held on to take the win by just 0.3s at the line.
Nick Heidfeld ran fifth in the opening stages after a superb start from eighth on the grid and later benefitted from a coming together at turn three which took Jean-Eric Vergne out of the race. Vergne attempted a pass on Piquet exiting the hairpin, but the pair touched wheels sending the Techeetah driver into the wall. Piquet survived unscathed, but Heidfeld was able to nip through and into third – a position he was able to hold until the end.
Venturi’s Maro Engel converted his super qualifying performance into his and the team’s best result of the season. He was able to withhold Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist for the entire race, despite several attempts from the Swede to get by.
Daniel Abt finished seventh, ahead of series newcomer Esteban Gutierrez and Antonio Felix Da Costa. Nico Prost came through from the back of the grid to take the final point in tenth.
It was a disastrous afternoon for the DS Virgin team with both Jose-Maria Lopez and Sam Bird finishing several laps down after suffering damage in separate incidents. Lopez was forced to pit for a new rear wing after contact from Daniel Abt, while Bird was also forced to pit after he hit the wall at Tabac. Bird later showed the true potential of his car this weekend by setting the fastest lap of the race.
Today’s result extends Buemi’s championship lead to fifteen points ahead of his Renault team’s home race in Paris next week.
Heidfeld’s third place was notable as he becomes the first driver to finish on the podium here in both Formula 1 and Formula E.
Images: DS Virgin, Michelin and FIA Formula E
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