Formula E: Long Beach win a poignant one for Piquet

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Following his victory in the Formula E Long Beach ePrix on Saturday, Nelson Piquet Jr. made no secret of his delight as he followed in his father’s footsteps by winning at the prestigious street circuit in California.

Nelson Piquet Sr. claimed his first race win in Formula 1 at the 1980 United States Grand Prix West, which was held at Long Beach 35 years ago this week.

For the Formula E round on Saturday, Piquet Jr. changed his helmet design to match the one used by his father at the race in 1980, and it proved to be something of a good luck charm as the Brazilian stormed to his first win in the series.

After qualifying fourth, Piquet made a superb start to take the lead of the race at the first corner, and never looked back, eventually crossing the line with an advantage of 1.7 seconds over Jean-Eric Vergne.

“The start was one of those times where everything goes right, the car didn’t wheelspin much and it seemed like both cars in front didn’t have a very good reaction,” Piquet explained.

“So I got almost alongside Daniel [Abt] and broke as late as I could into the first corner. I was really confident on the brakes here and I found a way to control them which can be a big issue with these cars.

“As soon as I got the lead it was just a matter of managing from the front and keeping calm without making mistakes. The last race in Miami we lost a great result from a mistake in the pitstop so I think it was crucial to hold on to the lead here.

“I just made sure I managed the gap to Jean-Eric behind me and just brought it home. This one meant a lot to me!”

Not only was Piquet’s win a landmark victory for his family, but it also brought the Brazilian into the thick of the fight for the inaugural Formula E championship. He now sits second in the drivers’ standings, just one point behind Lucas di Grassi at the top of the table.

The next Formula E race takes place in Monaco on May 9.