PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY - MARCH 17: In this handout provided by FIA Formula E, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), TECHEETAH, Renault ZE 17, sprays the champagne on the podium during the Punta del Este ePrix, Round 6 of the 2017/18 FIA Formula E Series on March 17, 2018 at Playa Brava Beach in Punta del Este, Uruguay. (Photo by Andrew Ferraro/FIA Formula E via Getty Images)

The 2018 CBMM Niobium Punta del Este E-Prix definitely lived up to hype for the return of the FIA Formula E Championship. The E-Prix at the Punta del Este Street Circuit in Uruguay had great weather and even greater action on track. It has been two years since they last raced here with Sebastien Buemi taking the top step of the podium that day. This round was spectacular and will always be remembered as a great race with many driver battles and immense speed.

Punta del Este E-Prix Review

The whole weekend was eventful, so here is a review of the Formula E Punta del Este E-Prix:

Super-Pole Results

1. Lucas di Grassi
2. Alex Lynn
3. Mitch Evans
4. Oliver Turvey
5. Jean-Eric Vergne

Qualification Results

1. Jean-Eric Vergne
2. Lucas di Grassi
3. Mitch Evans
4. Alex Lynn
5. Oliver Turvey
6. Daniel Abt
7. Sebastien Buemi
8. Andre Lotterer
9. Maro Engel
10. Sam Bird
11. Jose Maria Lopez
12. Jerome D’Ambrosio
13. Antonio Felix da Costa
14. Felix Rosenqvist
15. Luca Filippi
16. Edoardo Mortara
17. Tom Blomqvist
18. Nick Heidfeld
19. Nelson Piquet Jr.
20. Nico Prost

Race Report

The Start

When the lights went out for the start of the race, Jean-Eric Vergne got a great start off the line. He led in front of defending season three champion Lucas di Grassi into turn one followed by Alex Lynn. The person who got the best start however, was Sam Bird. He beat Maro Engel off the line and was behind Andre Lotterer after the first sector. Bird didn’t stop there however, he pressured Lotterer into a mistake and he nudged the wall.

One driver that didn’t have a great start was Nick Heidfeld. The unlucky German made contact with another driver going into the first corner and soon came to a halt on the start of lap 3. This brought out yellow flags to slow down the action for the time being. This was the exact opposite of his teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, who made up a few positions before the yellow flag came out.

After the Yellow Flag

When the racing resumed, the order at the front didn’t change at all. Vergne got a great restart with di Grassi following a little distance behind him. This was the point when Vergne’s teammate started having a horrible race. Bird eventually pressured Lotterer to manage to pull off an overtake, and soon Lotterer started plummeting down the order. This allowed both Maro Engel and Felix da Costa to get past following Bird. A few laps after, Bird and Engel worked their way up to Sebastien Buemi and successfully overtook him as well.

The Pit Stops

The minimum pit stop time was lifted again for this race so we saw lots of action. This gave a chance for some teams to leapfrog positions in the pits at a high rate. Today was no different, we saw Bird, Rosenqvist and Evans all gaining positions out of the pits. Lap 21 was the time when everyone except the race leaders pit.

After all the pit stops, Vergne maintained his lead over di Grassi and the rest of the field. They were followed by Daniel Abt, Bird and Lynn respectively. Abt pulled back into the pits due to his seat belts coming undone while out on track. Thus, bringing his hopeful podium finish to a crashing end.

Battles Until the End

The last half of the race was intense. With many track battles happening throughout the field. Mitch Evans was on a mission and while Rosenqvist used his Fanboost, overtook Rosenqvist and blew past Lynn on one of the fastest corners in all of the Formula E tracks. A brilliant maneuver, forcing Lynn to take the dirty line through the corner and made it look easy. A lot of credit was due to Lynn for not losing control of his car while being overtaken. But it didn’t end there, with the second pit stop of Abt, that brought Bird  closer to di Grassi and Vergne.

He eventually caught up to them by Lap 34 but just couldn’t find the room to make a move stick. Bird was able to catch up to them thanks to the immense battle Vergne and di Grassi were involved in. Vergne had to make great efforts to stay in front of di Grassi, who was putting the Frenchman under pressure in almost every overtaking spot. Di Grassi made slight contact with Vergne on a few occasions through the final chicane but wasn’t enough to get past the Frenchman.

Vergne Earns the Win

After 37 laps in front of a packed grand stand in Punta del Este, Vergne took his second win of the year for the privateer team of Techeetah. Di Grassi took his first podium of the year for Audi Abt Schaeffler and will be disappointed not to get the win. Bird, who drives for DS Virgin Racing, took third to round out the podium.

Evans finished fourth for Panasonic Jaguar Racing after clawing his way from starting seventeenth on the grid. Rosenqvist of Mahindra Racing finished fifth after a lackluster performance in Mexico City. Lynn of DS Virgin Racing finished sixth after a great qualifying performance but just couldn’t hold onto his position through the end.

Oliver Turvey of NIO finished seventh after another great qualifying performance but he couldn’t hold it to the end. His pit stop didn’t help him any, he lost two positions while changing cars. Jose Maria Lopez finished eighth for Dragon Racing.
Jerome D’Ambrosio finished ninth in the second Dragon Racing car. Lastly, Maro Engel finished tenth for Venturi Formula E team to round out the top ten.

Final Race Results

1. Jean-Eric Vergne
2. Lucas di Grassi
3. Sam Bird
4. Mitch Evans
5. Felix Rosenqvist
6. Alex Lynn
7. Oliver Turvey
8. Jose Maria Lopez
9. Jerome D’Ambrosio
10. Maro Engel
11. Antonio Felix da Costa
12. Andre Lotterer
13. Luca Filippi
14. Daniel Abt
15. Nico Prost
16. Tom Blomqvist
17. Edoardo Mortara
18. Sebatien Buemi- DNF
19. Nelson Piquet Jr.- DNF
20. Nick Heidfeld- DNF

Driver Standings

1. Jean-Eric Vergne 109
2. Felix Rosenqvist 79
3. Sam Bird 76
4. Sebastien Buemi 52
5. Nelson Piquet Jr. 45
6. Mitch Evans 41
7. Daniel Abt 37
8. Oliver Turvey 32
9. Edoardo Mortara 28
10. Lucas di Grassi 21
11. Nick Heidfeld 21
12. Andre Lotterer 18
13. Alex Lynn 17
14. Antonio Felix da Costa 16
15. Jose Maria Lopez 13
16. Maro Engel 7
17. Nico Prost 7
18. Jerome D’Ambrosio 6
19. Tom Blomqvist 4
20. Luca Filippi 1

www.fiaformulae.com/en/results/standings/driver/2022017

Constructor Standings

1. Techeetah 127
2. Mahindra Racing 100
3. DS Virgin Racing 93
4. Panasonic Jaguar Racing 86
5. Renault E. Dams. 59
6. Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 58
7. Venturi Formula E Team 35
8. NIO Formula E Team 33
9. MS&AD Andretti Formula E 20
10. Dragon Racing 19

http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/results/standings/team/2022017

MAIN PHOTO:
Embed from Getty Images

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