Sebastien Buemi and the Renault E.DAMS teams won the season start of FIA Formula E Championship in Hong Kong.
The Swiss driver started from 5th position, but with a bit of luck and good strategy from the team, the defending Champion managed to grab the win.
Nelson Piquet and NextEV NIO started from Pole Position and had a big lead. On lap 11, Jose Maria Lopez from DS Virgin Racing made a mistake and put his car in the wall. That was only a few meters ahead of Piquet, who was about to lap him. Piquest just managed to avoid the stricken car of Lopez, but ended up in the wall himself, and lost the lead and fell a long way back, before he was back on the track again.
Lopez had started the race in 3rd position, but he quickly fell back through the field. Sadly the multiple WTCC Champion looked like an elephant in a porcelain shop when he was going backwards. And that’s most likely the feeling that Piquet had too, since that incident probably cost him the race.
The stranded car of Lopez meant that the Safety Car had to be deployed. That was exactly what Lucas di Grassi needed. di Grassi had only started on P19, and that only got worse on lap one, when he collided with Ma Qing Hua. Hua drove into the back of di Grassi’s teammate, Daniel Abt, and that sudden stop by the Chinese driver, meant that di Grassi couldn’t avoid him. Both Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport driver got the technical flag from race control, but after his front-wing change, di Grassi managed to improve up the field.
The mechanics at Andretti Formula E had worked overtime, after Robin Frijns had totally damaged his car in the qualifying. Therefore they had to build a complete new car in just 3 hours, but they did it and Frijns took 6th position at the end of the race.
Another driver that was candidate for the most unlucky guy of the day is Sam Bird. After Piquet’s problem, he was leading and everything was going perfect until the mandatory pit stop. When he was ready to leave the pits, the car wouldn’t drive and that cost him more than 30 seconds extra, before he managed to get going. So that was a potential victory that ended up being P13 at the checkered flag.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing had a very difficult debut. With a qualifying on P14 and P16 and with just Adam Carroll finishing the race in P12, there is still a lot to do for the new team.
When 45 laps were over, it was Sebastien Buemi who won, and very surprisingly with Lucas di Grassi on 2nd position ahead of Nick Heidfeld, who had driven a controlled race from 11th starting position.
The next time we see the FIA Formula E Championship on the track is in about one month’s time, where Round 2 will be held in Marrakech, Morocco, on November 12th.