Former F1 racer boosts his prospects of winning all-electric racing series title with a commanding victory around the Battersea Park road course
Matt Burt
27 June 2015

Former F1 driver Sébastien Buemi led from pole position to chequered flag in the first of two FIA Formula E Championship races at Battersea Park in south London today.

Victory put the Swiss driver right back into contention for the inaugural title in the all-electric single-seater series. Buemi now lies just five behind points leader Nelson Piquet Jr ahead of Sunday’s season climax around Battersea Park.

With overtaking difficult around the tight and bumpy circuit, Buemi was able to control the race from the front after converting his pole position into an immediate lead.

The e.dams-Renault driver established an advantage of more than two seconds in the early laps, and stayed at the front until the mid-race pitstops to change cars.

Once those had been completed, he hit the front again, and stayed there despite a safety car period that allowed the chasing pack to close on him.

Second place fell to Dragon Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio who, like Buemi, didn’t face any serious threats once the opening-lap skirmishes had sorted out the order.

The battle for the final spot on the podium was more spirited. In the early laps, Lucas Di Grassi held the place, but had to perform some stout defensive moves to keep bitter rival Piquet Jr at bay.

The two title protagonists almost came to grief on lap three when Piquet Jr got a good run and drew ahead, but Di Grassi had the better line for the next corner and after some rubbing of bodywork managed to hold the place.

The attempted move cost Piquet his momentum, and a super-quick Jean-Eric Vergne capitalised, diving down the inside into a tight right-hander.

Vergne’s progress in his Andretti Autosport car didn’t end there; on lap seven he pulled a late-braking, tyre-locking move on Di Grassi at the same corner to seize third.

The order at the front remained the same through the mid-race car changes, but on lap 17 Daniel Abt suffered a suspected technical failure on his car and nosed the crash barriers, necessitating a safety car period.

As the race restarted, fifth-placed Piquet was in a feisty mood and again attacked Di Grassi, who made his Audi Sport Abt car as wide as possible. Piquet Jr nudged the rear of his compatriot’s machine at one point, and fell away thereafter.

Di Grassi had enough power left for a late-race charge, and he latched onto the rear of Vergne’s bright orange car, but couldn’t quite mount a challenge. Also on a move was Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird.

A technical problem in qualifying had left him down the grid and effective ended his slim hopes of the title, but he raced sensibly and deposed both Loic Duval and Nicolas Prost in the closing laps to seize sixth.

Up at the front, it was all smiles for Buemi, who secured the teams’ championship for e.dams-Renault.

The drivers’ crown is still up for grabs. A maximum of 30 points are available for tomorrow's season finale, with 25 points available for the race win, two points for fastest lap, and three points available for pole position, which will be decided in the morning.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

Renault Zoe

Bespoke battery-powered supermini aims to advance the EV’s case

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?