June 08, 2015 @ 04:56 PM

Race Review: Formula E in Moscow

While Lucas di Grassi’s championship chances continues to diminish, Sebastien Buemi closes in on Nelson Piquet Jr. By Jerrica Leong


While Lucas di Grassi’s championship chances continues to diminish, Sebastien Buemi closes in on Nelson Piquet Jr. By Jerrica Leong

 
Last week, the ePrix fraternity took over the streets of beautiful Moscow. Qualifying that took place earlier in the day had seen Andretti team’s Jean-Eric Vergne taking his third pole position in Formula E, beating back championship leaders Nelson Piquet Jr. and Lucas di Grassi to pole position. Sebastien Buemi from the e.dams Renault team found himself a distant fourth thanks to Vergne’s surprise pole.
 
Too much wheel spin had seen Vergne lose the lead to Piquet Jr. who started setting a string of fastest laps, immediately extending a gap between him and Vergne. Di Grassi in the Abt car had remained behind Vergne’s Andretti car with Sebastien Buemi closing in on him in the e.dams Renault car.
Meanwhile Jarno Trulli seems to have recreated a track of his own. When defending himself against da Costa in the Amlin Auguri car, every time da Costa pulls an overtaking move on him at the same corner, Trulli would cut through the chicane to reclaim the position. The two had remained in the same position throughout the race even after the pitstops.

When the pitstop window came around, Nelson Piquet Jr. had pitted one lap earlier than everybody else, having used up more energy than his rivals when setting the gap between him and second place man Vergne. Lucas di Grassi had made a jump on Vergne during the pitstops by coming out ahead of the Frenchman.
 
But all was not well for the entire e.dams Renault team, the team had mistaken the minimum pitstop time to 68 seconds instead of 58 seconds. Both drivers were delayed a further 10 seconds due to the engineers’ mistake. Buemi, who had extended a time that would have helped gain him track position, came out behind both Lucas di Grassi and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Yellow flags were brought out for a brief time when Bruno Senna’s Mahindra racing car spun at Turn One and left behind the entire rear wing. The safety car was expected to be brought out when Loic Duval crashed atop Jarno Trulli’s car causing Trulli to lose his rear wing and Justin Wilson to run wide at the hairpin.
 
With debris all over the road, all eyes were on Lucas di Grassi who was catching a power saving Piquet Jr. with half an eye on Buemi, Vergne and Heidfeld. It was confusion at the end of the race. Buemi was racing in fourth and catching Vergne when Buemi missed the turn and did a Trulli by cutting the chicane, when Buemi had slowed to concede the position back to Vergne, the Frenchman had not taken the position and had allowed Heidfeld in the Venturi car to gain a position.
 
Had the race ended in that order, Buemi would have been nine points adrift from Piquet Jr. in the championship while di Grassi will continue to lose out. But Buemi had been handed a 29 second drive-through penalty after the race for an unsafe release during the pitstop which saw the Swiss drop down to ninth and promoted Heidfeld into his first podium position.

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