eDAMS.Renault driver Nicolas Prost has taken the lead in the FIA Formula E Championship by winning the Miami ePrix on Saturday. The Frenchman became the fifth different winner in as many rounds by passing Audi Sport ABT’s Daniel Abt on the penultimate lap, and survived a late challenge from series debutant Scott Speed to claim victory.
Pre-race, pole sitter Jean-Éric Vergne was awarded a FanBoost, along with Salvador Durán and Bruno Senna. Vergne won the start, and along with Sam Bird – who had passed Prost – built a lead over the field.
Approaching pit stops, Bird overtook Vergne for the lead, however a slow lap of energy conservation to reach the pits saw the Briton drop to eighth place. Vergne’s hopes of victory were reduced by a slow pit stop, before being dashed completely by an overheating issue fading the energy available in his car.
Daniel Abt moved to the lead following the pit stop cycle, just ahead of Prost and Lucas di Grassi. It was at this point that speed began his charge through the field, passing his fading Andretti teammate Vergne, Dragon’s Jérôme d’Ambrosio, di Grassi, and latching onto the back of Prost.
With the American now on his tail, Prost seized an opportunity to pass Abt into Turn 8 on the final lap. Abt had pitted one lap earlier than his rivals and was now saving energy to reach the end of the race, and was also unable to provide a defence for Speed, who followed Prost through on the following straight. A tight final lap followed between Prost and Speed, but the Andretti driver could not find a way by the eDAMS.Renault car. Abt held on for third, ahead of d’Ambrosio and Nelson Piquet Jr who received two bonus points for setting the fastest lap of the race. Overheating issues for di Grassi – similar to those suffered by Vergne – saw the Abt driver fall to ninth place at the finish.
Having come within one corner of a race win in Beijing before controversial crash, Prost said the win took a moment to sink in: “It didn’t hit me that I’d won until I got back to the pits because they forgot to give me the chequered flag! I was still pushing like crazy. It was a really good race. When I got out after my change Daniel and I were side-by-side but then I knew he had to do one more lap so I was still saving a lot of energy thinking that I might get a shot. Daniel was running out of energy so I could overtake him.”
After being penalised out of a podium position in round one, Abt was pleased to finish in third place: “I’m extremely happy to be on the podium. You know I thought I had it in the first race but was handed a penalty and I also had other chances in previous races but now we finally managed it in Miami. I was leading the second stint after a slightly different strategy but I had two options: stay ahead and use too much energy or give a bit up and be safe for a podium, that’s what I did.”
Earlier, Vergne claimed pole position, setting the fastest time in qualifying ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr and Prost. The result was Vergne’s second Formula E pole, having also topped qualifying in his first event at Punta del Este. A five place grid penalty from the previous race in Buenos Aires – received for speeding under yellow flags – saw Piquet relegated to seventh on the grid.
Prost set the pace in the first qualifying group, with a 1:06.167 lap time, whilst his eDAMS.Renault team mate Sébastien Buemi spun at Turn 4. In Group 2, Sam Bird jumped to provisional second place, just 0.003 seconds off Prost’s time. Vergne rolled out in Group 3, becoming the first driver of the weekend to set a sub-1:06 lap time, laying down a 1:05.953 lap, ahead of Piquet’s 1:06.003. D’Ambrosio was the fastest of the final group on track, however his 1:06.502 was only good enough for eighth place.
With the inaugural Formula E Championship now at its half-way point, the series will remain in the United States for round six, with the Long Beach ePrix to be run on a revised version of the classic Long Beach Grand Prix circuit on Saturday April 4, 2015.
2015 Formula E Miami e-Prix – Final Classification (39 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Nicolas Prost||Team e.dams Renault||39||46:12.349|
|2.||Scott Speed||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||39||+ 0.433|
|3.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||39||+ 5.518|
|4.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||39||+ 5.941|
|5.||Nelson Piquet Jr||China Racing Formula E Team||39||+ 6.426|
|6.||António Félix da Costa||Amlin Aguri||39||+ 8.754|
|7.||Loic Duval||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||39||+ 9.498|
|8.||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||39||+ 19.817|
|9.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||39||+ 20.631|
|10.||Salvador Durán||Amlin Aguri||39||+ 24.587|
|11.||Jaime Alguersuari||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||39||+ 43.883|
|12.||Nick Heidfeld||VENTURI Formula E Team||39||+ 47.878|
|13.||Sébastien Buemi||Team e.dams Renault||39||+ 1:04.587|
|14.||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||39||+ 1:23.539|
|15.||Jarno Trulli||Trulli Formula E Team||38||1 lap behind|
|16.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Trulli Formula E Team||38||1 lap behind|
|17.||Charles Pic||China Racing Formula E Team||38||1 lap behind|
|18.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||37||2 laps behind|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Time|
|RET.||Stéphane Sarrazin||VENTURI Formula E Team||31||Gearbox|
|RET.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||25||Suspension|
Image via Formula E Championship