Montreal ePrix: Di Grassi wins thriller, Buemi charges to fourth

Lucas di Grassi will take a six-point advantage into Sunday’s Formula E finale in Montreal after Sebastien Buemi lost the championship lead despite a charging drive in Saturday’s race. 

Montreal ePrix: Di Grassi wins thriller, Buemi charges to fourth
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, leads at the start of the race
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, leads Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams, leads Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams, and Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, leave the pits
Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams, leads Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams, and Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, leave the pits
Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team, passes the crashed car of Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing
Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing, battles with Stéphane Sarrazin, Techeetah
WinnerLucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, celebrates on the podium with Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, and Stéphane Sarrazin, Techeetah
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, with his trophy on the podium
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, celebrates on the podium
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, gets a kiss after winning the race
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Di Grassi held off Jean-Eric Vergne to win the opening part of the electric single-seater series’ Canadian double-header and usurp Buemi at the top of the points. 

A furious Buemi was denied a shock podium by the robust defence of Stephane Sarrazin on the final lap, but will be relieved to minimise the damage to his title bid after starting 12th. 

After his grid penalty for a battery change, triggered by a heavy practice shunt, Buemi was always at risk of midfield aggravation at the start. 

He fell to 17th on an awful opening lap, picking up mild steering damage as a very conservative approach meant he got swallowed up in the midfield. 

Buemi adapted the positioning of his left hand on the wheel to counter the offset steering and gradually regrouped, rising to a point-paying 10th by the end of the opening stint, which came prematurely on lap 15 of 35 thanks to a full-course yellow caused by the crashed Mahindra of Nick Heidfeld, 

Pitstop clash with Abt

Buemi was tucked up behind di Grassi’s team-mate Daniel Abt coming into the pits, nudging the German’s rear end and gesticulating irritably. 

He was released side-by-side with Abt after swapping cars, and got ahead of the German before receiving a punt up the rear after Buemi appeared to slow suddenly at the pitlane exit.

Buemi complained furiously over the radio, but ninth was his and gained another position immediately when Adam Carroll dropped out of the points after inexplicably waiting to pit until the end of the full-course yellow. 

Driving in a half-liveried second car, a legacy of the practice crash also forcing his Renault e.dams team into a barely-completed rebuild around a new tub, Buemi then caught and passed Oliver Turvey and Mitch Evans to run sixth heading into the final third of the race. 

Jose Maria Lopez did Buemi a big favour when he lost the rear of his DS Virgin Racing car and crashing into the barrier at the final corner, sparking a safety car. 

Sprint to the finish

When racing resumed Buemi’s team-mate Nico Prost moved aside without fuss, gifting Buemi fifth, and fourth was handed to him on a plate as well when Felix Rosenqvist hit the wall exiting the final corner and picked up damage to his left rear. 

Despite catching Sarrazin and launching a final-lap assault, which included wheel-banging and side-by-side squabbling for three corners, Buemi was forced to settle for fourth. 

The safety car that gave Buemi his late boost also wiped out a near-five-second advantage for di Grassi at the front, who suddenly had Vergne in his mirrors. 

Vergne had got ahead of Rosenqvist in the car swaps, thanks to a tardy stop for the Mahindra, and passed Techeetah team-mate Sarrazin shortly before the safety car emerged. He hounded di Grassi to the flag, but was never close enough to make a serious move. 

Behind the top four was Abt, a charging Sam Bird – from 18th – and the muted Prost. Evans, Robin Frijns and the crabbing Rosenqvist completed the points finishers.  

 

Montreal ePrix results

PosDriverTeamLapsTimeGap
1 brazil  Lucas di Grassi  germany  Team Abt 35 -  
2 france  Jean-Eric Vergne  china  Techeetah 35 0.350 0.350
3 france  Stéphane Sarrazin  china  Techeetah 35 7.869 7.869
4 switzerland  Sébastien Buemi  france  DAMS 35 8.256 8.256
5 germany  Daniel Abt  germany  Team Abt 35 8.592 8.592
6 united_kingdom  Sam Bird  united_kingdom  Virgin Racing 35 8.913 8.913
7 france  Nicolas Prost  france  DAMS 35 10.058 10.058
8 new_zealand  Mitch Evans  united_kingdom  Jaguar Racing 35 10.457 10.457
9 netherlands  Robin Frijns  united_states  Andretti Autosport 35 15.836 15.836
10 sweden  Felix Rosenqvist  india  Mahindra Racing 35 16.764 16.764
11 france  Tom Dillmann  monaco  Venturi 35 19.320 19.320
12 belgium  Jérôme d'Ambrosio  united_states  Dragon Racing 35 20.229 20.229
13 germany  Maro Engel  monaco  Venturi 35 22.314 22.314
14 brazil  Nelson Piquet Jr.  china  NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team 35 23.145 23.145
15 portugal  Antonio Felix da Costa united_states  Andretti Autosport 35 34.786 34.786
16 united_kingdom  Oliver Turvey  china  NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team 35 46.996 46.996
17 united_kingdom  Adam Carroll  united_kingdom  Jaguar Racing 35 49.612 49.612
 R france  Loic Duval  united_states  Dragon Racing 26 8 laps 9 laps 
 R argentina  Jose Maria Lopez  united_kingdom  Virgin Racing 23 11 laps 12 laps 
 R germany  Nick Heidfeld  india  Mahindra Racing 13 21 Laps  
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