Sebastien Buemi, Nissan, Formula E testing, Valencia, 2018

Buemi takes first win for two years as title fight goes down to final race

Formula E

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Sebastien Buemi scored Nissan’s first Formula E win in a race which saw the championship fight go down to the final round.

While Buemi ended a two-season streak without standing on the top step of the podium, points leader Jean-Eric Vergne came away empty-handed after two collisions with his team mate. That allowed Lucas di Grassi to eat into his rival’s lead with a fifth-place finish.

Vergne needed a podium to seal his title bid today, while Di Grassi needed at least four points to keep his title charge alive. Both having qualified poorly, each had considerable work to do in the race.

Buemi took pole, still hunting for his first win in two seasons and after a comparatively clean start, Alex Lynn quickly got the best of Pascal Wehrlein to be harassing Buemi for the lead. Despite Buemi seeming to have an energy advantage of a couple of percent over Lynn and Wehrlein, he was being asked to save energy and told he was over-consuming, forcing him back into Lynn’s clutches.

After less than five minutes of the race, both Techeetahs were heavily damaged following contact where they seemed to sandwich Mitch Evans, bunched into a corner after Bird made contact with Guenther ahead of them. Lotterer span, bodywork hanging off his car as he crawled it back to the pits to continue a lap down. Vergne was also forced into the pits with a puncture, emerging over 40 seconds behind Di Grassi and nearly a minute from race leader Buemi, with just under 40 minutes to go.

A safety car was Vergne’s only hope of recovering into a points position – which came when Alex Lynn, who had continued to fight with Buemi, was forced to stop on track and retire following a failure warning on his car. The short safety car period allowed the pack to bunch up – and Vergne to use Attack Mode to regain places.

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A collision between Turvey and Paffett saw the NIO out of the race, carbon fibre flying across the track Di Grassi under investigation for contact with Guenther with six minutes to go.

Vergne had moved up to 11th, which put him within grasp of a point due to a 10-second penalty for Bird following the contact with Guenther. Di Grassi however had moved to sixth (fifth as Bird was ahead of him) and so in line to keep the fight going down to the final flag tomorrow.

That was moved a lot closer by a final-lap incident that saw Massa and Vergne collide, the latter into the wall and out of the race, completely denied of points despite his recovery drive.

Alexander Sims relinquished his first podium in Formula E towards the end of the race, promoting teammate Antonio Felix da Costa, who had driven to fourth and who, although now out of title contention, retains the chance of a second or third place trophy.

Di Grassi goes into the final race of the season now only 12 points behind Vergne, with only Evans and Buemi also remaining in title contention otherwise – 25 and 26 points behind the leader.

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Provisional classification

1. Sebastien Buemi – Nissan e.Dams
2. Mitch Evans – Panasonic Jaguar
3. Antonio Felix da Costa – BMWi Andretti
4. Alexander Sims – BMWi Andretti
5. Lucas di Grassi – Audi
6. Daniel Abt – Audi
7. Pascal Wehrlein – Mahindra
8. Sam Bird – Envision Virgin
9. Jerome D’Ambrosio – Mahindra
10. Oliver Turvey – NIO
11. Gary Paffett – HWA AG
12. Jose-Maria Lopez – GEOX Dragon
13. Stoffel Vandoorne – HWA AG
14. Oliver Rowland – Nissan e.Dams
15. Jean-Eric Vergne – DS Techeetah
16. Felipe Massa – Venturi
17. Andre Lotterer – DS Techeetah
DNF Maximilian Guenther – GEOX Dragon
DNF Edoardo Mortara – Venturi
DNF Alex Lynn – Panasonic Jaguar
DNF Robin Frijns – Envision Virgin
DNF Tom Dillmann – NIO

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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6 comments on “Buemi takes first win for two years as title fight goes down to final race”

  1. John Toad (@)
    14th July 2019, 3:12

    I’ve just finished watching the race on catch-up TV and I was shocked at how much contact drivers were getting away with.
    I guess I’ve been spoiled by the professionalism of the F1 driving and stewarding standards.
    If the same standards were applied to FE then most of the drivers would be starting at the back of the grid and be banned in the first quarter of the season for exceeding the penalty point limit.
    There seems to be little effort to control or censure the demolition derby approach in FE.
    Toy cars, running on toy tracks, piloted by rejects and wannabe’s.

    1. Yet always providing fun races.

    2. I don’t mind some elbows-out overtaking, but yesterdays race was a full-on banger race. If the drivers behave “normal” for Formula E standards, it’s fun to watch, but this was ridiculous.

      1. The alternative is an F1-like procession, because the circuits are too narrow for clean overtaking. I much rather have this then. More excitement in 1 race than in a whole season of F1.

        1. John Toad (@)
          14th July 2019, 13:11

          I guess it comes down to what you consider excitement then.
          If you prefer drivers running into each other and then limping back to the pits with bits hanging off their cars then this is for you, together with banger racing and NASCAR.
          Personally I prefer clean overtakes and the fast moving chess match that is modern F1.

          1. John, they all learnt their trade in Karting, which has contact and is more exciting than F1 and FE put together.

            Perhaps let FE be? instead of wanting it to replicate other single seater formulas and becoming overly sanitized. FE never wanted to be like F1.

Comments are closed.