Buemi reigns over Berlin

Sébastien Buemi returned to his proper place as predicted in the start of the Formula E season, as he won without problems the renewed Berlin ePrix at the center of the German capital, even though Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi tried to ruin his weekend.

Lights were out and after a good maneuver and some wheel banging, Sébastien Buemi takes the lead from poleman Jean-Eric Vergné, but the DS Virgin wouldn’t leave it as is, so he took back the lead on lap 2 with a late brake into the first corner. Lucas di Grassi improved dramatically right away, and to not waste his advantage in the championship, he was still seeking for positions as he was in sixth.

Things settled a bit on lap 5 as gaps were more spread between the cars, when Buemi saw an impossible gap and overtook Vergné again, leaving the French away to deal with a charging Daniel Abt, and with the close competition behind, any risky move would cost positions. Buemi was opening the gap while Abt was the other driver to go past Vergné, leaving the DS Virgin duo fighting for third place, which ended quickly as Sam Bird was called to the pits to changes the front wing, as the starting one was holding a damaged endplate.

The first two positions were settled ahead of the pit stops, but Vergné still had his hands full with Nico Prost and Lucas di Grassi right behind and apparently faster than him. He was so busy defending that his right front endplate was left when he attacked hard the first chicane. On the halfway point, Prost just had to hassle Vergné to gain the third place, as he feinted a pass move in the hairpin, and then Vergné lost the whole front wing in another desperate attack to chicane.

After the pit stops on lap 26 it was Renault e.dams and ABT Audi in the first four positions, as Buemi and Abt kept their positions while Prost and di Grassi capitalized into Vergné’s misery. It was just a moment to wait everybody’s pit stops to then call a full course yellow flag due to Vergné’s debris, which ended in a single lap.

Lap 33 and Prost was between the two ABT Audi cars, with di Grassi being faster behind him and Abt ready to go to team strategy at any time. Di Grassi then confirmed his quickness six laps later, by going beside Prost on lap 39 to finally overtake on lap 40, taking third position.

On lap 42, Loïc Duval was one of the drivers that had problems with grip under acceleration and hit the wall hard, bringing the Safety Car to the track and ruining ABT Audi’s strategy to improve di Grassi’s situation in the championship. Problem was that di Grassi was being investigated for yellow flag speeding, so the ePrix couldn’t be more undecided.

Green flag appeared again with two laps to go, Buemi in the end was still leading and kept like this. About Abt and di Grassi, their tries of a position swap just looked clumsy, and Abt held his second place while di Grassi completed the podium.

Lucas di Grassi somehow still leads the championship with 141 points against 140 of Buemi with only the London double-header to go. On the teams side, Renault e.dams leads with 202 points against 191 of ABT Audi, so the Germans work will be harder for a teams’ title.

The London ePrix, 2015/2016 season finale, will be on July 2nd and 3rd at Battersea Park.

PHOTO: Michelin