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Di Grassi extends Formula E championship lead with Paris win

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PARIS – Lucas di Grassi extended his lead at the top of the FIA Formula E drivers’ championship with a controlled victory in the inaugural Paris ePrix on Saturday.

A perfect getaway from second place on the grid allowed di Grassi to slip past pole-sitter Sam Bird on the run down to the first corner, from where the Brazilian only lost P1 through the pit stops.

Di Grassi spent the opening half of the race forging a lead over DS Virgin Racing drivers Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne, albeit tempered by a lap of full course yellows called when Loic Duval stopped out on track.

His lead stood at five seconds before coming into the pits after Vergne and Bird made contact, the latter having also lost second place to his teammate at the start. Their squabbling continued until after the car swaps, allowing championship contender Sebastien Buemi to close in on a podium position, making his way up from eighth on the grid.

Bird made a critical error with six laps remaining, locking up at Turn 1 and take a trip down the slip road to drop to sixth place, handing Buemi the final podium position.

The race finished under a safety car after Team Aguri debutant Ma Qinghua crashed at the final corner with five laps remaining. The Chinese racer thankfully walked away unharmed, although the same could not be said of his car.

This allowed di Grassi to ease across the line in first place for the third race in a row (one win lost through disqualification) and extend his lead over Buemi in the standings to 11 points.

Vergne picked up his first podium in Formula E since last year’s London finale by finishing second for DS Virgin on home soil, while Buemi finished third ahead of Renault e.dams teammate Nicolas Prost.

Stephane Sarrazin had a quiet race en route to P5, finishing ahead of Bird, but the same could not be said of Robin Frijns and Antonio Felix da Costa. Despite racing with season one technology, both drivers had feisty races on their way to seventh and eighth.

Bruno Senna and Daniel Abt had hoped to enjoy a late charge by going longer before making their first pit stops, giving them more energy for the second stint, but the safety car scuppered this and left them ninth and 10th at the flag.

Formula E Paris ePrix Race Result

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Dutch Grand Prix becomes fourth Formula 1 race canceled this season

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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — The Dutch Grand Prix became the fourth Formula One race canceled this season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after organizers decided Thursday they didn’t want to play host to an event without spectators.

It was to be the first Dutch GP since 1985, but F1 wants to start the season with no spectators at races.

“We would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands,” race director Jan Lammers said in a statement. “We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”

The race in Zandvoort was set for May 3 and initially postponed. Fans who bought tickets can use them next year.

The coastal circuit has been redesigned, with some corners banked to facilitate faster racing.

The other races canceled this year were the season-opening Australian GP on March 15; the Monaco GP on May 24; and the French GP on June 28.

Another six have been postponed.

F1 organizers still hope to reschedule those and hold 15 to 18 races this season, starting in July with back-to-back races at the Austrian GP.