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Buemi eases to Paris victory as di Grassi crashes – Race Report

Paris ePrix – Sebastien Buemi eased his way to victory at his Renault eDAMS team’s home race ahead of Jose Maria Lopez, who scored his first Formula E podium.

Pole sitter Buemi defended the lead off the line from Jean-Eric Vergne, who challenged from second on the grid. The Swiss driver then began to create a gap to the field.

Vergne later crashed out of the race after the pit stop phase at Turn 13 from second place. Techeetah are investigating a potential mechanical failure.

Nick Heidfeld took his second consecutive podium for Mahindra ahead of team mate Felix Rosenqvist.

Further drama struck the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team though. After a nightmare qualifying that had their drivers just 14th and 16th fastest, Lucas di Grassi made heavy contact with Antonio Felix da Costa at Turn 8 during an attempted overtaking manoeuvre.

The collision left da Costa out of the race as he was pushed into the inside barrier. That brought out the Safety Car which prompted a flurry of early pit stops, as it did last time out in Monaco.

Di Grassi was able to continue, but then received a drive through penalty for being under the minimum pit stop time.

The Brazilian’s race truly ended with three laps to go when he locked up and crashed into the barriers at the same corner he made earlier contact with.

A non-points score means Buemi extends his championship advantage from 15 points to 43.

Robin Frijns kept his nose clean to finish fifth, whilst Nico Prost advanced to sixth from ninth on the grid.

Esteban Gutierrez struggled to match his qualifying performance as he struggled for pace, and was the hit with a five second time penalty for speeding under Full Course Yellow conditions, dropping him from seventh to 12th.

That boosted Nelson Piquet Jr up to seventh, ahead of Formula E debutant Tom Dillmann who scored points for Venturi.

Mitch Evans scored points for the third race in a row with ninth, and Stephane Sarrazin rounded out the points finishers in tenth having started from the back of the grid.

Daniel Abt caused massive confusion at the very end of the race, which finished under Safety Car conditions, as it did last year, for di Grassi’s retirement from the race. His car stopped on track on the final lap on the back straight and, through fear of receiving a penalty, drivers were reluctant to overtake him, causing a massive blockade of cars on the narrow straight.

Mike Conway was the only driver to stay on track during the first Safety Car period in an attempt to have an energy advantage over his rivals at the end of the race. His strategy did not work out however, as he finished just 14th.

Team mate Jerome D’Ambrosio could not manage any better, as he pulled into the pits with a mechanical issue.

Sam Bird already had a poor qualifying spot from what he described as one of the worst qualifying performances of his career, but a poor getaway meant he could not advance through the field and could only attempt to score through the fastest lap for the second consecutive race, which he did for one championship point.

Click here to see the full results of the race.

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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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