Di Grassi extends Formula E championship lead with Paris win
PARIS - Lucas di Grassi extended his lead at the top of the FIA Formula E drivers’ championship with a controlled victory in the inaugural Paris ePrix on Saturday.
A perfect getaway from second place on the grid allowed di Grassi to slip past pole-sitter Sam Bird on the run down to the first corner, from where the Brazilian only lost P1 through the pit stops.
Di Grassi spent the opening half of the race forging a lead over DS Virgin Racing drivers Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne, albeit tempered by a lap of full course yellows called when Loic Duval stopped out on track.
His lead stood at five seconds before coming into the pits after Vergne and Bird made contact, the latter having also lost second place to his teammate at the start. Their squabbling continued until after the car swaps, allowing championship contender Sebastien Buemi to close in on a podium position, making his way up from eighth on the grid.
Bird made a critical error with six laps remaining, locking up at Turn 1 and take a trip down the slip road to drop to sixth place, handing Buemi the final podium position.
The race finished under a safety car after Team Aguri debutant Ma Qinghua crashed at the final corner with five laps remaining. The Chinese racer thankfully walked away unharmed, although the same could not be said of his car.
This allowed di Grassi to ease across the line in first place for the third race in a row (one win lost through disqualification) and extend his lead over Buemi in the standings to 11 points.
Vergne picked up his first podium in Formula E since last year’s London finale by finishing second for DS Virgin on home soil, while Buemi finished third ahead of Renault e.dams teammate Nicolas Prost.
Stephane Sarrazin had a quiet race en route to P5, finishing ahead of Bird, but the same could not be said of Robin Frijns and Antonio Felix da Costa. Despite racing with season one technology, both drivers had feisty races on their way to seventh and eighth.
Bruno Senna and Daniel Abt had hoped to enjoy a late charge by going longer before making their first pit stops, giving them more energy for the second stint, but the safety car scuppered this and left them ninth and 10th at the flag.
Formula E Paris ePrix Race Result