Buemi battles to fifth Formula E victory in Punta del Este
Sebastien Buemi stormed to his second victory of the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E season in Punta del Este on Saturday, fighting his way from fifth on the grid to beat title rival Lucas di Grassi to the win.
Buemi made a good start before picking off the leaders to hit the front of the field before the one and only round of pit stops.
Despite suffering a scare under a full course caution, the Swiss racer was able to remain cool at the front to record his fifth win in Formula E and take the lead of the championship.
Off the line, pole-sitter Jerome d’Ambrosio made a clean getaway to hold onto his lead through the first tight complex of corners. Sam Bird made a flying start to jump up to second ahead of Loic Duval, while Sebastien Buemi moved up into P4 after passing Lucas di Grassi.
Buemi quickly pushed on in the early stages as he sought to make up for his mistake in qualifying, jumping ahead of Duval with a brave move into turn nine on lap four. He tried a similar move on Bird one lap later, only for the Briton to shut him off, with their dicing allowing d’Ambrosio to scamper away at the front of the pack.
Buemi eventually made light work of Bird, who also dropped behind Duval in the process, and was quickly on the tail of d’Ambrosio at the front, who in spite of his best efforts was powerless to stop the Renault e.dams driver from passing. Buemi soon kicked on at the head of the field, establishing a lead of over three seconds before pitting on lap 17.
A quick stop from the Renault e.dams team allowed Buemi to remain at the front of the pack, but now had di Grassi for company after the Brazilian jumped both d’Ambrosio and Duval to take second place. D’Ambrosio now ran third ahead of Bird who had also passed Duval, but the Briton’s joy was short-lived as an issue on his car forced him to park up on the main straight and retire.
A full course yellow was called so that Bird’s car could be recovered, but miscommunication between race control and Buemi allowed di Grassi to close to within a second at the front ahead of the restart on lap 21.
Buemi couldn’t pull away from di Grassi immediately as he may have liked, but soon found his feet under green once again to create a gap of over one second. All the while, Buemi was using less power than di Grassi, giving him more breathing room as the laps ticked down.
Come the checkered flag, Buemi had extended his lead to 3.5 seconds, allowing the Swiss driver to easily secure his fifth Formula E, albeit under yellow flags after a scary crash for season one champion Nelson Piquet Jr. on the penultimate lap.
Di Grassi followed Buemi home to finish second but now trails the Swiss driver by a single point at the top of the championship standings. Pole-sitter d’Ambrosio completed the podium in third place ahead of Dragon teammate Duval, marking his best result of the season so far.
Nicolas Prost spent much of the race stuck in traffic, limiting him to fifth place ahead of Team Aguri’s Antonio Felix da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne. Daniel Abt finished eighth for his family-backed team, while Stephane Sarrazin and Robin Frijns rounded out the top ten.
Simona de Silvestro narrowly missed out on her first Formula E point by finishing 11th ahead of Oliver Turvey, who saw his hopes of points be dashed after a drive-through penalty. Oliver Rowland finished 13th on debut ahead of Nathanael Berthon, who was the last car to finish.
Formula E returns in the new year with the Buenos Aires ePrix in Argentina on February 6.