Buemi, 4th on the grid, got the jump on team mate Nico Prost at start, meaning he was behind Jean-Eric Vergne and Nelson Piquet Jr. Piquet, who started second from the clean side of the grid, took the lead form Formula E debutant Vergne, despite this the Frenchman was on Piquet’s gear box straight away.
With two safety cars, caused by Sam Bird and Antonio Felix da Costa, the race never settled into a rhythm, however Vergne didn’t let this stop him, finally getting his Andretti car down the inside of Piquet on lap 13.
The pursuit of Piquet cost Frenchman dearly forcing him to pit on Lap 15 because of a lack of battery power. The early stop came back to haunt the ex Toro Rosso F1 driver due a safety car on Lap 16 caused by Toyota LMP1 driver Setphane Sarrazin, who lost control of his Venturi at turn 11 and hitting the wall.
The safety car meant Vergne had to trundle round at safety car speed, while the rest of the field pitted, meaning Vergne was behind Buemi, and Nick Heidfeld after the swap of cars.
A penalty for Heidfeild meant that it was left to the two ex Toro Rosso drivers to fight for the victory.
The two battled in out but the fight was halted on lap 28 as Vergne’s Andretti team mate, Mathew Brabham, who had come form the back row of the grid to sixth, lost control at the same corner as Sarrazin to hit wall and cause the 4th safety car of the race.
This meant we were left with a two lap shoot out for victory, but even this was cut short when Vergne slowed with broken front suspension, meaning Buemi was able to cruse for the last lap and half and take his and e-Dams’ first victory of the season.
With Vergne’s retirement it meant ex Renault F1 driver Piquet was able to claim his first podium after a solid drive, while Lucas di Grassi cemented his place at top of the championship by claiming his third podium in three races.
Jarno Trulli managed to score his and Trulli GP’s first points of the season, finishing 4th. The Italian lead home a train which included Jaime Alguersuari, Bruno Sennan and Nico Prost.
America’s Dragon Racing scored a solid amount of points, with Jerome D’Ambrosio finishing seventh and team mate Oriol Servia coming home eighth.
While the closest finish of the day was for tenth position with Heidfeld who had to serve two penalties, beating factory Corvette driver and Formula E debutante Antonio Garcia (China Racing) by 0.031’s to get the final point.
Formula E returns on the 10th of January in Buenos Aires, Argentina for Round 4, with Lucas Di Grassi leading by 18 points to Sebastien Buemi with Sam Bird in 3rd.
Charlie.Price AT dervhead.com
All photographs © FIA Formula E