After six different winners in the first six events, edams.Renault driver Sébastien Buemi has become the first two-time ePrix winner, converting pole position to victory in Monaco.
Buemi lead away from pole, and held the race lead throughout, and was ahead as carnage unfolded behind on the opening lap. A side-by-side exit from Turn 1 between Daniel Abt and Nicolas Prost saw the former squeezed into the barrier. The incident left Bruno Senna, who was following the pair, with no place to go but into the back of Abt, the Brazilian’s Mahindra being launched into the air and crashing down heavily.
Abt limped back to the pits to switch to his second car, whilst Senna was out of the race on the spot, as was Jaime Alguersuari who, along with several other drivers, sustained damage trying to avoid the incident.
Buemi held the lead at the re-start with Lucas di Grassi in second, the pair building a gap to Jerome d’Ambrosio behind. Nelson Piquet Jr, who – along with Jean-Éric Vergne and Salvador Duran received the FanBoost vote – used the aid to slip past d’Ambrosio for third, and started to close in on the two leaders.
It was at this point that di Grassi chose to pit, aiming to undercut Buemi. The move prompted the edams.Renault driver to pit one lap later, and it almost paid off for di Grassi, whose fast in- and out-laps meant he was right there as Buemi exited pit lane – the two drivers almost making contact on the run to the harbour side hairpin as Buemi managed to keep his nose in front.
From that point on, Buemi built a small lead he would maintain to the end of the race, claiming his second win by a margin of 2.154 seconds. Di Grassi then came under attack from Piquet Jr, who had conserved energy early in his stint, making a lunge into the hairpin that was ultimately unsuccessful.
With car temperatures needing to be managed Piquet backed off once again, holding on for third place from a fast-finishing Sam Bird (Virgin) and d’Ambrosio in fifth.
Having made contact with his team mate in the first lap skirmish, Andretti’s Jean-Eric Vergne lost several laps before re-appearing on track in his second car, using FanBoost to set the fastest lap of the race and with it taking two championship points and the inaugural Fastest Lap Trophy.
Teammate Scott Speed limped through his first stint with no front wing as a result of the opening lap incident, and moved up to eighth place in his second car, before receiving a 33-second time penalty of exceeding the maximum permitted energy usage.
The Venturi team, for whom Monaco is their home race event had their best run of the year, with Stéphane Sarrazin taking a team-best seventh place, with team mate Nick Heidfeld in tenth. These results moved the squad off the foot of the teams’ championship table, slipping ahead of Trulli into ninth.
For Buemi, taking a win in Monaco, along with being the first driver to win a second ePrix was a special moment.
“To win in Monaco is a great feeling. I knew about this thing of everyone starting on pole and not winning the race, so it was good in the end to finally manage that, especially here as we could see it’s very difficult to overtake,” he smiled afterwards.
Di Grassi admitted that it was his decision to make the aggressive strategy call and push for the undercut during the pit stops, a move which almost payed dividends: “I decided myself inside the car and told the team, I said ‘Look guys, I am going to go for a very aggressive first stint, going to try to gain track position, going to push like hell with the second car and after that I see what happens’.”
In the driver’s championship di Grassi remains at the top of the table with 93 points, a four-point lead over Piquet, while Buemi moves up to third, a further six points behind. Prost sits in fourth on 77 points, the strong results from both edams.Renault drivers giving the team a healthy 45-point lead in the teams’ championship, ahead of Audi Sport ABT and Virgin Racing.
The eighth event of the Formula E season will be held in Berlin in two weeks’ time, on a circuit utilising the apron and taxiways of the former Berlin Tempelhof Airport.
|2015 Formula E Monaco ePrix – Final Classification|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Sébastien Buemi||Team e.dams Renault||47||48:05.225|
|2.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||47||+ 2.154|
|3.||Nelson Piquet Jr||China Racing Formula E Team||47||+ 4.634|
|4.||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||47||+ 4.801|
|5.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||47||+ 5.881|
|6.||Nicolas Prost||Team e.dams Renault||47||+ 11.032|
|7.||Stéphane Sarrazin||VENTURI Formula E Team||47||26.472|
|8.||Charles Pic||China Racing Formula E Team||47||+ 49.538|
|9.||António Félix da Costa||Amlin Aguri||47||+ 52.658|
|10.||Nick Heidfeld||VENTURI Formula E Team||47||+ 52.936|
|11.||Jarno Trulli||Trulli Formula E Team||47||+ 58.984|
|12.||Scott Speed||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||47||+ 1:14.138|
|13.||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||46||+ 1 lap|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|NC.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Trulli Formula E Team||36||+ 11 laps|
|NC.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||33||+ 14 laps|
|DNF.||Salvador Durán||Amlin Aguri||28||Accident|
|DNF.||Loic Duval||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||24||Damage|
|DNF.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||14||Mechanical|
|DNF.||Jaime Alguersuari||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||0||Collision|
|DNF.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||0||Collision|
Images via FIA Formula E Media