FIA Formula E Punta del Este review

Sebastien Buemi clinched e.dams-Renault’s first win of the season in the 2014 Formula E Julius Baer Punta del Este ePrix with Nelson Piquet Jr. and championship leader Lucas di Grassi completing the podium places.

The Swiss driver fended off Jean-Eric Vergne in the final stages of the race as the Andretti driver pulled over to the side of the track on the penultimate lap.

Buemi said: “I knew he was going to use his FanBoost, clearly we took it a little bit too safe in the last few laps when he started to catch me because I was still trying to save energy. It’s a bit silly right now but that is what it is. Then at the restart I locked the rear wheels twice in the chicane so it was a bit on the edge. I knew he was going to be fast but I don’t know what happened to him in the end. I’m really happy with today’s result.”

Piquet jumped Vergne off the start line to lead into Turn 1 but dropped back as the Andretti driver deployed his FanBoost to re-take the position.

He said: “It was a great start, immediate reaction and the car handled very well. On the first lap I attacked the chicane a little bit too hard trying to build a gap and I think I damaged my front suspension. After that it was just trying to maintain really – that’s why we were so slow and holding up everybody. I was locking up going into the corners, the car was lifting a little bit – so it was really nerve wracking for many laps until we finally got the pitstop and then the car was back to normal and that’s why we had our speed at the end of the race.”

Buemi’s win moves the e.dams-Renault driver to second in the championship equal on points with Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, who crashed out on lap three after locking up and launching over the kerbs. The two drivers are now 18 points adrift of Lucas di Grassi who picked up his third podium in succession.

Di Grassi said: “I had a very good start – I even managed to overtake Nico Prost, who was one row in front. But then I was squeezed by [Jaime] Alguersuari in the chicane and just managed not to touch the wall and then I’d lost the position to [Nicolas] Prost, Alguersuari and [Nick] Heidfeld. It was quite a bad first corner. After that I was just attacking Jaime for the whole first stint, but Jaime was very aggressive on closing and making us both lose time. Then after the safety car and pitstop, I came straight back behind Nelson after the drive-through [penalties] were done and I managed to close the gap. We proved again that we had the pace and another podium feels good.”

Jarno Trulli claimed his first points of the season with a fourth place finish ahead of Alguersuari and Mahindra Racing’s Bruno Senna. The Italian driver has endured a tough start in the opening races but believes the team is moving forwards.

He said: “It’s a reasonable result for us and good to get our first points for the team. I seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time a lot and avoiding the accident cost me time. The team is heading in the right direction though and the test tomorrow should help us take another step forward.”

There were mixed fortunes for the drivers making their Formula E debut with Andretti driver Jean-Eric Vergne clinching an impressive pole position and fighting for the lead of the race before pulling over with a suspension issue. Amlin Aguri racer and FanBoost winner Salvador Duran had a quiet race in 16th position.

The race was enjoyed by a sell-out crowd in Punta del Este with 10,000 fans filling the grandstands and many more cheering from nearby balconies. “It’s definitely a good circuit, maybe the best circuit so far in terms of speed – really high speed corners, fast chicanes,” said di Grassi. “We have to continue in this direction with these circuits – I think more speed and longer straights help for a better race.”

FIA Formula E Championship – Punta del Este ePrix (Rd 3) – Results:

1. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 49:08.990

2. Nelson Piquet Jr, China Racing, +0.732s

3. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +2.635s

4. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +4.163s

5. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +4.698s

6. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +5.197s

7. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +6.514s

8. Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +7.567s

9. Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing, +8.646s

10. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +10.563s

11. Antonio Garcia, China Racing, +10.594s

12. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, +19.617s

13. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +54.175s

14. Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti, +2 laps

15. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +3 laps

16. Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, +4 laps

17. Matthew Brabham, Andretti, DNF

18. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, DNF

19. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, DNF

20. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, DNF

Drivers’ Standings (After Rd 3):

1. Lucas di Grassi 58pts

2. Sebastien Buemi 40pts

3. Sam Bird 40pts

4. Nicolas Prost 24pts

5. Nelson Piquet Jr. 22pts

6. Jerome d’Ambrosio 22pts

7. Franck Montagny 18pts

8. Karun Chandhok 18pts

9. Jaime Alguersuari 14pts

10. Oriol Servia 14pts

Teams’ Standings (After Rd 3):

1. e.dams-Renault Formula E 64pts

2. Audi Sport ABT Formula E 62pts

3. Virgin Racing Formula E 54pts

4. Dragon Racing Formula E 36pts

5. Andretti Formula E 33pts

6. Mahindra Racing Formula E 26pts

7. China Racing Formula E 22pts

8. Trulli Formula E 12pts

9. Amlin Aguri Formula E 6pts

10. Venturi Formula E 4pts