Sebastien Buemi continued his fine form with a comfortable win in his Renault e.dams team’s home race in Paris. The race finished under the safety car after championship rival Lucas di Grassi crashed out with two laps to go.
DS Virgin’s Jose Maria Lopez scored a career-best second place, with Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra) adding to his Monaco podium with another third place finish.
Buemi started the race on pole position alongside Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne, and the pair looked to be on course for a close fight as they exchanged fastest laps in the opening laps.
Barring a brief period during the pit stops, the pair ran closely together at the front for more than thirty laps with Buemi even using his fan boost at one stage to fend off Vergne’s advances as the Frenchman began to close the gap.
On lap 33/49, Vergne understeered out of the final corner and went straight on into the wall. His car was badly damaged, and a safety car was brought out to clear up the debris. His team later confirmed via Twitter that a mechanical issue was to blame for Vergne’s crash.
This promoted DS Virgin’s Lopez to second, and the Mahindra pair of Heidfeld and Felix Rosenqvist up to third and fourth respectively.
After the restart, Lopez initially matched Buemi’s times and kept the gap to under a second for a few laps before Buemi began to gradually extend his lead. With just a few laps to go, the race was effectively over as Di Grassi made contact with the wall and brought out the second safety car of the race. With no time for a restart, the race ended under a safety car just as it did in this race twelve months ago.
Lopez showed impressive pace and energy management throughout to score his best result since joining the series and equalled the DS Virgin team’s best result since the Marrakesh ePrix back in November.
Mahindra scored its best ever double points finish in Formula E, with Heidfeld matching his third place finish from the last race and Rosenqvist following him home in fourth.
Nico Prost finished a solid fifth for Renault e.dams after starting ninth on the grid, but his result was more due to issues experienced by drivers in front of him rather than outright pace.
Robin Frijns finished sixth despite picking up a 5 second time penalty for speeding under yellow flags; his first points finish since the opening race of the season in Hong Kong.
Nelson Piquet finished seventh for NEXTEV NIO, with Tom Dillmann scoring points for eighth place on his Formula E debut racing for Venturi. Mitch Evans scored points again with ninth for Jaguar, and Dillmann’s teammate Stephane Sarrazin scoring the final point in tenth after starting last on the grid.
Lucas Di Grassi had a disastrous afternoon after qualifying down in 13th. Frustrated with his attempts to pass Da Costa, he squeezed the Portuguese driver sending both into the wall. Di Grassi was able to return to the race, but his race ended a few laps before the end when he locked a brake and ended up in the wall at the same corner.
Despite setting the fastest lap of the race, Sam Bird endured another frustrating afternoon finishing down in 16th for DS Virgin racing.
Images: FIA Formula E, Techeetah and Audi ABT Formula E Team
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