Saturday, December 19, 2015

Buemi Retakes Championship Lead With Punta del Este Victory

The second Punta del Este ePrix ended with the same driver on the top step of the podium as last year's race.

Renault e.dams' Sébastien Buemi won the race from fifth on the grid. The Swiss driver had to battle Abt Audi Sport's Lucas di Grassi but would off the Brazilian to get his second victory of the season. The Swiss driver went on to score fastest lap and the two bonus points vaulted Buemi to the championship lead with 62 points to di Grassi's 61 points. Di Grassi has finished on the podium on all three races. Jérôme d'Ambrosio started on pole position but faded to third and had to hold off a hard-charging Loïc Duval. The Belgian is now third in the championship with 28 points. Duval is tied for fourth in the championships with Sam Bird on 24 points. The British driver retired from race but Bird holds the tiebreaker over the Frenchman based on his second at Putrajaya.

Nicolas Prost finished fifth with António Félix da Costa finishing sixth. Jean-Éric Vergne made a final lap pass for seventh on Nelson Piquet, Jr. but the defending Formula E champion retook the position on an over-under move. Piquet, Jr., however would spin later in the lap and slam into the barrier, dropping him out of the points and giving seventh to Vergne once and for all. Daniel Abt finished eighth. Stéphane Sarrazin scored points for a third consecutive race with a ninth-place finish. Piquet, Jr.'s accident elevated Robin Frijns to tenth, extending his points-scoring streak to three races.

Simona de Silvestro matched her career-best finish by finishing behind her Andretti teammate in 11th. Oliver Turvey came home in 12th. The British driver was running in the points before being handed a penalty for not adhering to the minimum pit stop time of 59 seconds. Oliver Rowland finished 13th on debut. Rowland did lead a lap during the pit cycle. Nathanaël Berthon finished 14th with Piquet, Jr. classified in 15th.

Besides Bird, Bruno Senna was the only other retirement from the race. Jacques Villeneuve did not start after damage suffered in practice and qualifying.

You know the top five in the championship. Nick Heidfeld, who was replaced by Rowland after having minor hand surgery, is sixth with 17 points and tied with Frijns. Sarrazin and da Costa are tied on 16 points. Prost rounds out the top ten with 11 points. Senna and Abt are tied on ten points. Turvey has eight points, Vergne has six points and Berthon and Piquet, Jr. are tied on four points. De Silvestro, Rowland and Villeneuve have yet to put points on the board.

Renault e.dams has 73 points and leads the Teams' Championship by two over Abt Audi Sport. Dragon Racing has 52 points. Virgin Racing has 30 points, three ahead of Mahindra Racing and ten ahead of Aguri. Andretti has 17 points, one ahead of Venturi Grand Prix. NEXTEV Racing rounds out the Team's Championship with 12 points.

The fourth round of the 2015-16 Formula E season will take place on February 6, 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.