The first of two London ePrixs in 2016 was held yesterday at Battersea Park ahead of the season finalé, due to take place later today at 4pm.
The race begun with Prost on pole after the morning qualifying session and largely allowed the Frenchman to show his Renault-e.dams’ obvious dominance over the rest of the pack. He was certainly on form and set fastest laps as he drew away from second place Bruno Senna in his Mahindra.
As the race moved on, there was lots of tussles around the middle of the pack that ultimately ended with the demise of Daniel Abt, as he stuffed his ABT Shaeffler Audi Sport into the wall near turn three, taking out Robin Frijns in the process and causing a safety car to be deployed. Fortunately, neither driver was hurt.
The British changeable weather was in full swing but none too much to affect procedings. A smattering of rain was felt but not enough to affect the race or get drivers talking about tyre changes.
A few laps later and the with the crashed out cars cleared, the race was underway again. With the racers bunched up again, there was plenty of action as drivers attempted to capitalise on the narrow gaps. Prost leapt ahead again and never seemed under any particular pressure from second place Senna, whereas the battle for 4th, 5th and 6th was frenetic. Lucas di Grassi ended up getting a bit too close for comfort to Jean-Eric Vergne and lost the right hand side of his front wing. This didn’t seem to have much effect on the pace of the Brazilian and there was no pause in his fight to both maintain or improve position.
Oliver Turvey was the only other one to crash out, as he lost control of his car in the closing stages of the race. The final outcome after all the comotion and extremely close racing was Prost and Renault-e.dams taking a deserved and commanding win. Bruno Senna in the Mahindra Racing came second, followed by Jean-Eric Vergne in third place with his DS Virgin Racing. Nico Prost said:
“That’s the kind of race you always want: to start from the front and then just control it. It was fantastic. There is never an easy race, but it doesn’t get better than this one! I didn’t know about everything going on behind me, I just stayed focussed myself as the worst that can happen in this situation is that you mess up. I was just counting the laps and trying to keep it on the track to get to the end as the win was there. When the safety car came out I did have a swear word or two, but in the end we had a fantastic car and I was able to pull away very easily again. We can be pretty confident tomorrow now. To have a back to back win would be fantastic, but the track changes a lot dependent on the weather conditions. We have to concentrate and make sure we score the maximum points we can to keep the teams’ championship. For me, I will try to help Séb where possible as well.”
The championship battle between Lucas di Grassi and Sébastien Buemi remained unchanged in the respect that the points difference between the two is still just three points with di Grassi on 153 after his 4th place result and Buemi’s 5th place giving him a total of 150 championship points. This means that today’s race will be right down to the wire as the two battle for best position and strive to win their first Formula E Championship win.
The win in the first of the last London ePrix 2016 clearly meant a lot to Nico, as he embraced his father with an extended hug before collecting his trophy on the podium to great applause. Whether he can repeat his performance in the final race remains to be seen, but it’s a fitting result for a team that is fast becoming the one to beat in the all-electric race series.
2016 Visa London ePrix (Rd 9) – Race results
- Nico Prost, Renault e.dams, 53:56.653s (28)
- Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +5.244s (18)
- Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing, +8.195s (15)
- Lucas di Grassi, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, +8.914s (12)
- Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams, +10.052s (10)
- Antonio Felix da Costa, Team Aguri, +10.908s (8)
- Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing, +10.986s (6)
- Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +12.106s (4)
- Mike Conway, Venturi, +12.456s (2)
- Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +15.918s (1)
- Ma Qing Hua, Team Aguri, +38.400s
- Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV TCR, +52.028s (2)
- Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, +1:01.264s
- Simona de Silvestro, Andretti Formula E, +1:01.079s
- Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV TCR, +3 laps
- Loic Duval, Dragon Racing, DNF
- Robin Frijns, Andretti Formula E, DNF
- Daniel Abt, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, DNF
- Lucas di Grassi, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport – 153
- Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams – 150
- Nico Prost, Renault e.dams – 90
- Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing – 88
- Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing – 68
- Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi – 60