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.