Formula E: Buemi victorious as di Grassi crashes down and out in Paris
(CNN)Sebastien Buemi tightened his grip on the 2016/17 Formula E World Championship with another commanding performance at Saturday’s Paris ePrix.
Starting from pole, the Renault eDams driver controlled the race from start to finish to record an 11th career victory in Formula E and open up a 43-point gap at the top of the drivers’ championship.
If it was plain sailing for Buemi at the front it was anything but behind him as his main rivals faltered in the race run on the streets surrounding Les Invalides in Paris’ 7th arrondissement.
Home favorite Jean-Eric Vergne had missed out on pole by just 0.006 seconds earlier in the day and pursued Buemi doggedly for much of the race.
But the Techeetah driver’s hopes of clinching a first win in the all-electric race series were dashed when he crashed into the barriers on lap 34 of the 49-lap race — television replays suggested the Frenchman had suffered a steering failure.
With Buemi in the clear and Vergne out, the race was on for the final two podium places.
DS Virgin Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez, who had started in third maintained track position to clinch second followed by Nick Heidfeld of the Mahindra Racing team who took third.
Lucas di Grassi — Buemi’s main rival for this year’s title — had a day to forget after qualifying in 14th before crashing out of the race two laps before the end as he chased down a point awarded for the fastest lap of the race.
Prior to his retirement, di Grassi was involved in a collision with Antonio Felix da Costa on lap 16 which saw both men skidding off into the barriers.
Da Costa’s race was finished, but di Grassi managed to restart before his progress was further impeded by a drive-through penalty for a pit lane infringement when he switched cars.
Di Grassi’s crash towards the end of the race brought on the safety car which stayed out until the checkered flag.
“It’s amazing to get the pole position and a win,” Buemi said.
“It was not an easy one — especially with the safety cars and with Vergne pushing me at the start of the race.”
With victory last weekend in Monaco and now Paris, Buemi has won five out of six races this season and looks unstoppable in his bid to retain his world title.
The Formula E season resumes with a double-header in Berlin on the June 10 and 11.