Nico Prost has finally managed to win a Formula E race after looking strong all season. The French driver brought home his e.dams-Renault whilst a thrilled crowd of 20,000 people looked on and many millions more worldwide caught the race on TV and the internet.
A shaky start to proceedings led to a nervous moment not for the drivers, but for the organisers who had not finished the track setup on time, delaying the two free practice sessions.
Qualifying saw Jean-Eric Vergne take the top spot while Scott Speed became yet another new face on the Formula E race track, making his debut drive for Andretti and qualifying in a mid-field fifth row slot.
In the early stages all eyes were on a close duel between pole-man Vergne and Sam Bird, with Prost tailing the English Virgin driver. As the first stint was coming to an end, Bird made his move, overtaking Vergne with a great pass at Turn 5, after which the Frenchman opted to pit immediately. However, the run of pit stops was the undoing of two of the front runners, who found themselves down in the pack, with Abt taking the lead, shadowed by Prost and championship leader di Grassi.
Scott Speed staged a great climb up the order, thanks to a well executed strategy of energy management and some brave overtakes. First he got past Daniel Abt and then, he chased Prost right down to the final metre of the very last lap.
With six laps to go, the two Audi Sport ABT drivers began to struggle compared to their rivals, who had more energy available: first Scott Speed passed Di Grassi (lap 36) and then it was Daniel Abt who had to let Nico Prost and the American pass on the penultimate lap. However, the German managed to salvage third place and thus make it to the podium for the first time this season. However, the final stages did not work out so well for his team-mate, who could only pick up 2 points in ninth place.
Prost is the fifth different winner in this maiden Formula E season: his name can be added to the list of Lucas Di Grassi (Beijing,) Sam Bird (Putrajaya,) Sebastien Buemi (Punta del Este) and Antonio Felix da Costa (Buenos Aires.) Making the Frenchman’s day even more special was the podium ceremony: handing him his trophy was a “rival” in the form of Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, while up there to take the team award was the victor’s father Alain.
Lucas Di Grassi has finally been toppled from his top spot in the driver rankings, although only seven points separates him from Nico Prost. Sam Bird, who crossed the line eighth place, is now third in the general classification with 52 points. Thanks to Nico’s victory, French team e.dams-Renault increases their championship lead to 110 points and is 31 points clear of Audi Sport ABT who have 79 points which in turn has Andretti hot on its heels, just one point behind.
Other noteworthy performances came from another newcomer, Frenchman Loïc Duval who, having started from the back row, managed to finish an impressive seventh, while Nelson Piquet Jr. was fifth at the flag and took the two points that go with setting the fastest race lap.
The sixth ePrix of the season will take place on 4 April at Long Beach, California.
FIA Formula E Championship – Miami ePrix (Rd 5) – Race results:
- Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, 46m12.349s
- Scott Speed, Andretti Autosport, +0.433s
- Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +5.518s
- Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +5.941s
- Nelson Piquet Jr, China Racing, +6.426s
- Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +8.754s
- Loïc Duval, Dragon Racing, +9.498s
- Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +19.817s
- Lucas Di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +20.631s
- Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, +24.587s
- Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +43.883s
- Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +47.878s
- Sébastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, +1m04.587s
- Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +1m23.539s
- Jarno Trulli, Trulli, + 1 lap
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Trulli, +1 lap
- Charles Pic, China Racing, +1 lap
- Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti Autosport, +2 laps
- NC Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, DNF
- NC Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, DNF
Driver Standings (After Rd 5)
- Nicolas Prost – 67
- Lucas di Grassi – 60
- Sam Bird – 52
- Nelson Piquet Jr – 49
- Sebastien Buemi – 43
- Antonio Felix da Costa – 37
- Jerome D’Ambrosio – 34
- Jaime Alguersuari – 26
- Daniel Abt – 19
- Franck Montagny – 18
Team Standings (After Rd 5)
- e.dams-Renault – 110
- Audi Sport ABT – 79
- Virgin Racing – 78
- Andretti Autosport – 62
- Dragon Racing – 56
- China Racing – 49
- Amlin Aguri – 40
- Mahindra Racing – 36
- Trulli – 12
- Venturi – 8
Source; FIA Formula E