Following the Monaco E Prix last weekend, Formula E returned for the sixth race of the 2016-2017 Season in Paris. Last time’s winner and the current championship leader, Sebastien Buemi, secured pole position for the race, just ahead of Jean Eric Vergne by 0.006 seconds. With less that one hundredth of a second separating the two drivers, the race was set to be a closely fought affair, with Vergne aiming to secure his first win in the series.
Sebastien Buemi secures 11th Formula E win in Paris E Prix
When the five lights went out for the race start, the leaders got away cleanly, with both Buemi and Vergne having a good start from the front row of the grid. Tucking in behind Buemi, Vergne pulled out of the slip stream, trying to hang it around the outside of the leader into turn one, however, was unable to perform the pass.
This left Buemi in the lead and Vergne in second place while Jose Maria Lopez moved into third place and Nick Heidfeld into fourth following a strong start after qualifying in fifth.
After setting fastest lap after fastest lap, Buemi pulled away in lead while Vergne began to fall into the clutches of Lopez down in third.
Behind the leaders, Esteban Gutierrez was not on the pace and started to fall into the clutches of Felix Rosenqvist, with the Swedish driver going on to pass Gutierrez for fifth place.
Further down the field, there was a battle looming for 13th and 14th place, with Antonio Felix Da Costa overtaking Lucas Di Grassi for 14th and battling with Tom Dillmann for 13th. With tensions getting high between Di Grassi and Da Costa and frustration creeping in, the battle boiled over after an attempted overtake from Di Grassi caused both of the drivers to go into the wall and bring out a Full Course Yellow. Despite getting some damage, Di Grassi managed to continue racing, hoping to recover from the accident.
The field then pitted, with the drivers jumping into their second cars for the rest of the race. It was at this moment that Di Grassi pitted after his accident, however, rejoined ahead of the rest of the field after leaving the pits ten seconds before the minimum length pit stop, leading to the driver getting a drive through penalty.
There was then drama at the front of the pack, with second placed driver, Jean Eric Vergne hitting the wall and putting himself out of the race, causing the Safety Car to be deployed. The accident was very unusual, with Vergne running into the wall whilst putting on full opposite lock, suggesting that the accident was caused by a mechanical failure on the car.
When the Safety Car went back into the pits, the green flag waved once more and with Buemi extending his lead from the outset, the real battle out on track was the one to secure fastest lap in order to secure bonus points in the championship. This battle was fought between Sam Bird and Luas Di Grassi, with both drivers being outside of the points and multiple laps down.
With both drivers taking the fastest lap away from one another, yellow flags then flooded the track for the third time in the race, with Di Grassi crashing and putting himself out of the race with only three laps remaining. This then led to the Safety Car to be deployed, with the race ending under caution.
As the Safety Car went into the pits, Sebastien Buemi went on to cross the line in first place, securing his 11th win in Formula E. Jose Maria Lopez followed Buemi over the line in second place to secure his first podium of the series while Nick Heidfeld rounded out the podium positions in third, marking his second podium in succession.
Formula E returns for the seventh and eighth rounds of the 2016-2017 season in Berlin on June 10th and 11th. Can Sebastien Buemi extend his championship lead or can Lucas Di Grassi close in to keep his championship hopes alive? The Berlin E Prix will tell all.
Results from the Paris E Prix:
- Sebastien Buemi, Renault E.DAMS, 25 points
- Jose Maria Lopez, DS Virgin Racing, 18 points
- Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, 15 points
- Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing, 12 points
- Nico Prost, Renault E.DAMS, 10 points
- Robin Frijns, Andretti Formula E, 8 points
- Nelson Piquet Jr, Nextev Nio, 6 points
- Tom Dillmann, Venturi Formula E, 4 points
- Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, 2 points
- Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi Formula E, 1 point
- Oliver Turvey, Nextev Nio, 0 points
- Esteban Gutierrez, Techeetah, 0 points
- Daniel Abt, Abt Schaffler Audi Sport, 0 points
- Mike Conway, Faraday Future Dragon Racing, 0 points
- Adam Carroll, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, 0 points
- Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing, 0 points
- Jean Eric Vergne, Techeetah, Ret
- Jerome D’ambrosio, Faraday Future Dragon Racing, Ret
- Lucas Di Grassi, Abt Schaffler Audi Sport, Ret
- Antonio Felix Da Costa, Andretti Formula E, Ret