MIAMI – Considering both his own expertise and the capability level of his e.dams Renault team, it wasn’t so much a question of if Nicolas Prost would win in FIA Formula E, but when.
Five races in, at the Miami ePrix, is the later than expected answer.
Still, it was an overdue and popular win for the Frenchman, even as it occurred ahead of the lone American driver in the field in Scott Speed.
Prost started third and trailed the erstwhile dominant pairing of Jean-Eric Vergne and Sam Bird in the first stint.
But after the pit stop, Prost was able to hound new leader Daniel Abt, ultimately getting by the German on the penultimate lap.
He held off Speed’s advances from there to secure the victory, one he’d been chasing since his controversial contact with Nick Heidfeld in the series opener in China.
“(I didn’t know until) when I got back into the pits, because they forgot to give me the checkered flag,” Prost said in the post-race press conference. “I was like, ‘Is it finished or not?’ I was pushing like crazy!”
In the first half of the race, Prost maintained his position in the first car before emerging in the lead battle in the second half in the second car.
Prost had to perform the tricky balance in the final stint of pushing Abt, while not pushing too much to drain his available battery, while also pushing hard enough to hold off the closing Speed, who conserved more energy and had a bit more available.
“We tried a different strategy at the beginning as I saw I was quite fast but could not overtake, so I thought I’d go a bit longer with the strategy,” said Prost, who like Speed, pitted on Lap 20 – a lap after the prior leaders had.
“It turned out to be quite difficult, as I was on the edge with energy. Daniel and I got out side by side. I knew he had to do one more lap. I had to save energy and by that point I knew I had a shot.”
Speed caught Prost by surprise.
“Everything looked really under control, but I was only focusing on him (Abt),” Prost said. “And suddenly I saw Scott coming back and I was like ‘Woah who’s that guy? He’s coming back really fast!’ Then Daniel was running out of energy, so I could overtake him. In the end it was OK.”
The son of the four-time Formula 1 World Champion adds this Miami ePrix win to a pair of back-to-back overall wins at Petit Le Mans with Rebellion Racing, in 2012 and 2013.
This gives him an overall, solo, victory as opposed to ones shared with Heidfeld, Neel Jani and Andrea Belicchi at Road Atlanta.
“It’s always nice to share it. But when you win it for you alone, it’s not bad either,” said Prost.
He unofficially moves into the points lead, by seven over Lucas di Grassi, who finished ninth.