Round nine of the Formula E racing series is now officially in the books.
This race, the ninth in a series of 10, took place in Moscow, Russia.
- Round One: Lucas di Grassi
- Round Two: Sam Bird
- Round Three: Sebastien Buemi
- Round Four: Antonio Felix da Costa
- Round Five: Nico Prost
- Round Six: Nelson Piquet Jr
- Round Seven: Sebastien Buemi
- Round Eight: Jerome D’Ambrosio
And some notes from qualification, via Formula E:
Vergne secures pole for Moscow ePrix
Moscow|06 Jun 15
Jean-Eric Vergne (Andretti) will start from pole position for the Moscow ePrix ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr (NEXTEV TCR) and Audi Sport ABT’s Lucas di Grassi.
The Frenchman clinched his third pole position of the season but it wasn’t without incident as Vergne clipped the wall on the exit of the final corner on his flying lap.
Vergne said: “I’m very happy with the result, especially as the last few races have not been as good for us. It was a really close session with Nelson but I think it helped having a lot of the stronger guys in the early session before the track rubbered in. It’s now all down to the race where I have two Brazilians behind me so it’s going to be hot .”
Di Grassi will line-up third behind title rival Piquet and in front of e.dams-Renault driver Sebastien Buemi. Following his dominant form in the morning practice sessions, Buemi complained that he was hampered on his second attempt by Virgin Racing’s Jaime Alguersuari.
Piquet said: “That was a closely fought session with just half a tenth between us and shows how strong the field is. The car felt good and we had a good set up on a bumpy, tight track. I think overtaking may be tricky on this track so qualifying is always important, but let’s see what happens in the race.”
“I’m pleased with that," said di Grassi. "I made a mistake on my second quick lap so my first was my best. The car is still the same after what happened in Berlin and we’re in a strong position with P3. When you’re behind you can take more risks and that’s what we’re going to do today.”
Winner last time out in Berlin, Jerome D’Ambrosio will start fifth alongside Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) who looked on course for provisional pole position with two purple sectors but lost time in the final part of the lap to put him sixth on the grid.
Daniel Abt (Audi Sport ABT), Nick Heidfeld (Venturi), Jarno Trulli (Trulli) and Stephane Sarrazin (Venturi) round out the top-10 positions.
On his first outing in Formula E, Andretti’s Justin Wilson ended the session 13th. Dragon Racing’s Loic Duval will line-up 19th after his car stopped at the exit of the Turn 11 hairpin.
The race itself saw Nelson Piquet Jr, winner of the Long Beach Formula E race in April, capture victory in Moscow:
Moscow Race Results
Note on the race from Formula E:
Piquet masters Moscow
Moscow|06 Jun 15
Russia and the United States might be geographically and politically poles apart, but for Nelson Piquet Jr the performance was the same.
Just as he did in Long Beach back in April, he jumped into the lead of the Moscow ePrix at the start before going on to build up a commanding gap that he simply maintained after the car swap.
“We got really prepared coming to Russia,” he said. “We knew it would be an important race for us after, I would say, not a very strong performance in Berlin. I think everything was important – practice, and especially qualifying well was really important here. I think if I hadn’t qualified at the front it would have been close to impossible to win the race. Track position was very hard, you could see there was not much action in the back of the race, so I am glad I qualified very well, and had a great start. I think our procedure is a mixture of a bit of luck, good reaction, and I think set-up helps a little bit. We just did a great job, everything worked perfectly, and we did our homework.”
Piquet’s second win for the NEXTEV TCR team increased his championship lead and ensures he heads into the season finale double-header in London with a 10-point lead.
It was a mixed race for his title challengers. Lucas di Grassi closed his fellow Brazilian down in the second half of the race, reducing the gap from six seconds to 1.6s at its smallest. But the charge had taken the Audi Sport ABT car’s battery to its maximum temperature and he was forced to slow to let it cool down.
Who knows what the race would have been like if he had found a way by poleman Jean-Eric Vergne before the pitstops, but with overtaking extremely tricky around the Moscow street track he had to bide his time. Still after the disappointment of Berlin, he was pleased to show he and the team still had good pace.
“For everybody that was in doubt that our car was illegal for some reason, or we had any advantage by the wing we had in Berlin, it just shows that we had a very fast car today,” he said. “Track position is very important, and if we were in front we might not have been like in Berlin, but we showed everyone that we had again a fast car. It does not matter we had a small repair which was deemed illegal in Berlin which cost us 25 points, one podium and leading the championship. In the end it was something that, for me, was a decision which was not in the right way.”
For Sebastien Buemi the race was even more fraught. Stuck behind Vergne and di Grassi from the start, he was able to conserve energy and stay out a lap longer than his rivals. It could have been a winning strategy, but amazingly his e.dams-Renault team mistook the minimum pitstop time and held the Swiss driver in the pits for 68 seconds rather than the mandated 58.
Having lost 10 seconds, Buemi was on a charge late on, and went wheel-to-wheel with Vergne – Buemi cut the chicane and slowed to let the Frenchman back through. But Vergne also slowed, which allowed Nick Heidfeld to take full advantage of the confusion to nip into third. All three cars touched through the Turn 11 hairpin and they were covered by fractions as they crossed the line.
“We did a mistake at the pitstop,” he confirmed. “We lost close to 10 seconds there so I had to push hard. Obviously I did a lap more than the others in the first car so I could go flat out in the second car. I was catching JEV and he was often cutting the chicane, so it was difficult in the last few laps to catch him because he was gaining an advantage. Then in the last lap I used the FanBoost, and ran a little bit wide in Turn 3 and then had a bit of a contact with him. Then we had another contact in the last chicane, we had to cut the chicane, and then Heidfeld caught us.”
Buemi also collected two additional points for the fastest lap after his quickest time was disqualified for not respecting track limits.
Daniel Abt had a welcome trouble-free run to sixth for ABT, while Salvador Duran scored his best ever Formula E result with a convincing drive to seventh for Amlin Aguri. Team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa had to produce a battling drive to get to eighth, fighting his way past an obdurate Jarno Trulli in the process.
The Italian spent much of the race defending his position until finally his resolve was punctured by a late-braking Loic Duval who rammed the rear of the Trulli with his Dragon Racing machine as he was actually battling Justin Wilson. It had been a strong drive from the back for the Frenchman, whose qualifying was ruined when the car went into neutral.
Trulli’s race was over, which meant Wilson picked up a point for 10th place on his Formula E debut. Ninth place for Nicolas Prost pretty much ends his title challenge, while a pitstop problem for Jerome D’Ambrosio means there’s now effectively a three-way fight for the title.
With two back-to-back races set for London to close out the inaugural season, only three racers are in contention for the series win. Here arte the overall standings going into the final two races (top three drivers have a chance at capturing the overall series championship for year one):
Formula E Standings
And finally, here are a few videos from the Moscow Formula E race.
Full race video:
Highlights from race: