FIA Formula E

Buemi narrowly beats Vergne to Paris Formula E pole

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Sebastien Buemi will start Saturday’s FIA Formula E race in Paris from pole position after edging out home favorite Jean-Eric Vergne by just 0.006 seconds in the final stage of qualifying.

Buemi arrived in Paris with a 15-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship following victory in Monaco last weekend, and sent out an early warning shot to his rivals by leading the opening qualifying heat.

Vergne finished second for Techeetah to advance to the Super Pole shootout, and was able to lay down an impressive marker that Buemi looked hard-pressed to beat.

The Swiss racer dug deep and produced a last-gasp lap of 1:02.319 to take pole for Renault e.dams by just 0.006 seconds, leaving Vergne a frustrated second.

Jose Maria Lopez took third on the grid for DS Virgin Racing, while Oliver Turvey qualified fourth, but will drop to 14th after a technical change ahead of the Paris race triggered a 10-place grid drop.

Esteban Gutierrez enjoyed his best Formula E qualifying performance to date, finishing fifth for Techeetah ahead of his third ePrix outing since moving out of Formula 1.

Mahindra drivers Nick Heidfeld and Felix Rosenqvist took sixth and seventh respectively ahead of Andretti’s Robin Frijns, while Mitch Evans and Nicolas Prost rounded out the top 10 on the grid.

Lucas di Grassi saw his title hopes take another hit as he could only qualify 14th, with Buemi now 18 points clear at the top of the championship after picking up a bonus score for pole.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.