Frijns wins in New York but Vergne makes history as two-time FE champion
Robin Frijns delivered a sublime performance to win race two of the New York City E-Prix while Jean-Eric Vergne’s seventh-place finish was enough for him to secure a second Formula E drivers’ title.
Alexander Sims got away well from pole position and led the early stages of the race with Sebastien Buemi and Virgin Racing’s Frijns in pursuit.
Around 15 minutes into the race, Frijns saw his opportunity to snatch second place from Buemi and made his move hard on the brakes into turn 1. From there he set about chasing down Sims and by half distance he’d closed the gap to the BMW Andretti driver to under a second.
With both Frijns and his Virgin team-mate Sam Bird – running fourth and chasing Buemi – both showing excellent pace, Sims was having to defend hard to keep his lead.
Frijns saw his opportunity to take the lead heading into turn one, but this time the manoeuvre was not as smooth as when he’d passed Buemi as the Dutchman had to squeeze Sims to the outside of the corner in order to narrowly emerge in the lead approaching turn 2.
Form there, Frijns’ strong race pace was clear and just a few laps later he’d already built a gap of over two seconds to Sims who was coming under increasing pressure from Buemi and Bird for the second spot on the podium.
Frijns was unchallenged in the final few laps as his lead increased to almost five seconds at one point, but he eased off slightly on the final lap to take the flag by just over three seconds.
Sims held on to secure second place for his first-ever podium finish in Formula E, with Buemi taking third to snatch second place in the drivers’ championship from Lucas di Grassi.
With Vergne and di Grassi starting alongside each other on row six, both were relatively cautious in the opening few laps but it was di Grassi who appeared more eager to make progress as the race went on.
Requiring a win to realistically stand any chance of beating Vergne to the title, di Grassi simply didn’t have the pace to join the frontrunners and his race and title hopes ended in the barriers on the final lap while battling Jaguar’s Mitch Evans for sixth place.
Vergne, who had gradually moved up into the lower points-paying positions, inherited seventh place as a result of di Grassi and Evans’s crash, enough to secure a double title win for him and his DS Techeetah team.
Bird ended his season with a strong fourth-place finish and was only narrowly behind third-placed Buemi at the end.
Daniel Abt scored the fastest lap of the race on course to fifth place ahead of Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland.
The final points went to Stoffel Vandoorne in eighth, Antonio Felix da Costa who recovered from 14th to finish ninth and Gary Paffett who secured HWA’s first double points finish of the season.
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