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Buemi wins Formula E title despite crashing with di Grassi in London decider

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LONDON, UK – Sebastien Buemi has been crowned the second FIA Formula E champion after a dramatic deciding race in London that saw him collide with title rival Lucas di Grassi on the first lap at Battersea Park.

Di Grassi started third behind pole-man Buemi and his Renault e.dams teammate Nico Prost in P2, but a good start saw him get a run on the pair heading towards Turn 3.

Di Grassi failed to stop his car in time for the corner, though, punting into the back of Buemi in a move that sent both into the wall and appeared to end their races. Tied on points, both retiring would have handed the championship to di Grassi on countback.

However, both managed to get going again, returning to the pits to switch to their second cars before engaging in a bizarre – at times, farcical – game of cat and mouse in a bid to set the fastest lap of the race, three points on offer for the fastest man.

In a bid to gain track position, both drivers spent extended periods in the pits, with di Grassi even laying in wait to try and compromise Buemi’s lap at points.

However, when Buemi managed to find some space, he produced the fastest lap by 1.5 seconds, leaving di Grassi with an enormous challenge to fight back and take the title away.

Di Grassi found some space after a trio of safety car periods, but fell 0.05 seconds short of Buemi’s lap time. The Swiss driver then put the final nail in the coffin by finding a further four-tenths of a second, leaving di Grassi – sat in the pits, watching his rival – to get out of his car and declare: “It’s over”.

Bizarrely, neither di Grassi nor Buemi were classified, yet with the fastest lap, Buemi had done enough to secure the title by two points. After being met by his team, he burst into tears as the enormity of the achievement sunk in.

The Buemi-di Grassi scrap aside, there was still a race to be won. Coming off the back of his victory on Saturday, Prost managed to double up for Renault e.dams, finishing seven seconds clear of Daniel Abt in second place. The result also secured a second straight teams’ championship for Renault e.dams.

Jean-Eric Vergne finished the race third on track ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Felix da Costa, only for the trio to be hit with a post-race penalty for hitting 0% power on the last lap. As a result, Jerome d’Ambrosio was promoted to third place in the final results (having finished sixth on track) ahead of Dragon Racing teammate Loic Duval and Venturi’s Stephane Sarrazin.

Vergne, Heidfeld and da Costa were therefore demoted to P7, P8 and P9, while outgoing champion Nelson Piquet Jr. rounded out the points in P10. MS Amlin Andretti drivers Robin Frijns and Simona de Silvestro both retired early on, as did Sam Bird at his home event.

NBC Sports presents IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama Sunday live at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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From NBC Sports Group PR:

* Sunday’s Pre-Race Coverage Begins with IndyCar Live Presented by Verizon at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

* Pre-Race Coverage Includes Robin Miller Feature on Rookie Zach Veach, Following Career-Best Fourth-Place Finish at Long Beach

* CNBC Presents Live Qualifying Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, Airs on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET

STAMFORD, Conn. – April 19, 2018 – NBC Sports continues its coverage of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series this weekend from Barber Motorsports Park with live coverage of the Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Pre-race coverage begins with IndyCar Live presented by Verizon at 3 p.m. ET.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide live streaming coverage of the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) delivered a dominant performance at the Grand Prix of Long Beach last weekend, winning the pole and leading wire-to-wire for his third career victory, and third consecutive podium finish to start the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series campaign. Rossi currently leads Josef Newgarden (Penske) in the driver standings by 24 points. Newgarden won last year’s Grand Prix of Alabama, his second career win at Barber, while Rossi finished fifth.

This weekend’s live coverage from Barber Motorsports Park begins Saturday at 4 p.m. ET with qualifying on CNBC. NBCSN will air qualifying on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET. Sunday’s pre-race coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET with IndyCar Live presented by Verizon and will take place from the grid in the lead up to the command, bringing viewers even closer to the action prior to the race.

Pre-race coverage will include a feature by IndyCar on NBC pit reporter Robin Miller on rookie driver Zach Veach, who’s coming off a career-best fourth place finish at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Lead IndyCar play-by-play commentator Leigh Diffey will call this weekend’s Grand Prix of Alabama, analysts Paul Tracy and Townsend BellMarty Snider, Robin Miller, Kevin Lee, and Katie Hargitt will report from the pits.

NBCSN will also present coverage of the Indy Lights race from Alabama late night on Monday, April 23, at 1:30 a.m. ET. Current IndyCar driver Conor Daly will join the NBCSN booth for the race broadcast, alongside Kevin Lee and Anders Krohn, with Katie Hargitt reporting from the pits.

Following is this weekend’s IndyCar schedule on NBCSN and CNBC:

Date Coverage Network Time (ET)
Sat., April 21 Grand Prix of Alabama – Qualifying LIVE CNBC 4 p.m.
Grand Prix of Alabama – Qualifying (Encore) NBCSN 6:30 p.m.
Sun., April 22 IndyCar Live presented by Verizon NBCSN 3 p.m.
Grand Prix of Alabama NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
IndyCar Post-Race NBCSN 5:30 p.m.
Mon., April 23 Grand Prix of Alabama (Encore) NBCSN 12 p.m.
Indy Lights – Alabama NBCSN 1:30 a.m.

NBC SPORTS GROUP AND INDYCAR PARTNER ON COMPREHENSIVE, MULTI-YEAR MEDIA RIGHTS AGREEMENT

On March 21, NBC Sports Group and INDYCAR announced a new, multi-year media rights agreement in which NBC Sports acquired the rights to present all INDYCAR races, qualifying, practices, and Indy Lights races across its platforms beginning in 2019.

The Indianapolis 500 and seven additional Verizon IndyCar Series races will be broadcast annually on NBC, with all remaining races televised on NBCSN. All races will be live streamed to authenticated subscribers on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Details of NBC Sports’ 2019 INDYCAR schedule will be announced at a later date.

NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product – will offer a package to INDYCAR fans that features all qualifying and practices not televised live, all Indy Lights races, and full-event replays. Additional details, including the cost of the Gold offering, will be announced at a later date. Click here for more information.


VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES ON NBCSPORTS.COM AND THE NBC SPORTS APP

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide live streaming coverage of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app are powered by Playmaker Media and available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.