Excitement until the final meter in Formula E

Nothing was decided in the Drivers or the Teams Championship before the 12th race of the season in FIA Formula E Championship at the Montreal ePrix.

Felix Rosenqvist started the race from Pole Position, ahead of Sam Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne. Championship leader Lucas di Grassi started the race from fifth, followed by his teammate Daniel Abt. So the two Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport drivers had much better starting positions than the two Renault e.dams drivers. Sebastien Buemi only qualified 13th while Nico Prost had to start the race from the back of the grid. After the race yesterday, the Frenchman’s battery inside the car caught fire, so the team had to change a lot of stuff on the car, giving him a 20 grid penalty. So no matter where he qualified, he would start last. Added to that penalty, he got further 10 seconds pitstop penalty to be done at the mandatory car change.

Felix Rosenqvist took the start, while Jean-Eric Vergne made it past Sam Bird for second. Stephane Sarrazin was spun around in turn one and went all the way to second last in the race.

Sebastien Buemi was hit on lap one by Antonio Felix Da Costa, so the rear guard of the car was flapping in the wind. Race Control gave him the technical defect flag, which meant that he had to drive into the pits and get the car sorted. The part however fell off the car even before the Swiss driver made it to the pitlane, so it was a fuming Buemi who shouted over the radio, while he was driving through the pits. That trip meant that he was dead last, and could only hope for an early Safety Car to bunch up the field again.

Nick Heidfeld made it past Sam Bird on lap 6, dropping the Brit to fourth, which wouldn’t be enough to defend third in the Championship.

11 laps into the race, Vergne was running right behind the gearbox of Rosenqvist, giving the Swede a really hard time, in the battle for first.

To laps later, we saw plenty of action going into turn 1. Sam Bird tried to attack Nick Heidfeld, and at the same time Bird’s DS Virgin Racing teammate Jose Maria Lopez overtook Tom Dillmann. Later on the lap, Bird really made a move stick on Heidfeld, who was passed by Lopez too, one lap later.

Maro Engel and Nelson Piquet Jr were the two first drivers to come in for the car change. They did that on lap 18, which was right before the halfway point of the 37 laps race.

One lap later we had Rosenqvist, Bird, Heidfeld, Dillmann, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Sebastien Buemi into the pits for the change.

Jean-Eric Vergne
Photo: Patrik Lundin/LAT/Formula E

After 19 laps of the race, the rest of the field was in. Both Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport drivers lost several positions during the pitstop cycle, but was still many positions ahead of the two Renault e.dams cars. Even though none of the Renault e.dams cars would score points, neither Lucas di Grassi nor Daniel Abt could collect enough points for them to steal the Teams Championship away from the French team.

Felix Rosenqvist kept the lead, but he used quite a bit more power than Jean-Eric Vergne in second, which would turn out to be critical at the end of the race.

Eleven laps before the end of the race, we saw Nico Prost going into the pits to setup the car for one flying lap, aiming at the fastest lap of the race, and thus scoring one point for the Championship.

Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt slowly but surely sneaked back up the field again, and overtook D’Ambrosio and Dillmann, before Maro Engel got under attack. The Brazilian forced the German into an error going into turn 1, where Engel outbraked himself. Not only di Grassi went past, but Abt said thanks for the gap, and went past too.

With 8 laps remaining, Jean-Eric Vergne took the lead from Felix Rosenqvist who had started to save power.

Jose Maria Lopez was flying, and dived past teammate Sam Bird with 6 laps left of the race.

Mitch Evans tried an overtaking manoeuvre on Loic Duval, but ended up losing a position to Sebastien Buemi instead, who still was far from the points in 13th.

Lucas di Grassi
Photo: Malcolm Griffiths/LAT/Formula E

Stephane Sarrazin had a great race, driving back through the field, after being almost last on lap one, and took eighth position with three laps remaining.

With two laps left of the race, Loic Duval was sent into the wall by Robin Frijns. Race Control decided not to put the Safety Car on the track, but let the race continue under a local yellow flag.

Jean-Eric Vergne sailed home to victory with Felix Rosenqvist in second, and Jose Maria Lopez in third. That was the first Formula E win for Vergne in his three seasons.

Lucas di Grassi drove the Drivers Championship title home in a safe way, with Sebastien Buemi in second, while Felix Rosenqvist grabbed third ahead of Sam Bird.

Renault e.dams won the Teams Championship ahead of Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, with Mahindra Racing finishing third.

That was the end to an amazing Season 3 in the FIA Formula E Championship. Nothing was decided before the final race of the season, even though the 11th round yesterday gave di Grassi a good gap.

Season 4 will start in Hong Kong on December 2nd and 3rd.

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