With a bold move passing Sam Bird for the win, Lucas di Grassi mastered the Formula E race in Long Beach. Despite his disqualification in the previous round in Mexico, the Brazilian ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport-driver made it back into the title race after Sébastien Buemi came in contact with Robin Frijns and lost time.
“I’m very happy to show that if you keep your focus, keep up your work, good results come,” he said. “From the outside races always look comfortable, this is a tricky track, it’s very easy to do mistakes, it was an extremely difficult race. Stéphane was quick and was putting pressure on me. It’s an extremely difficult car to drive on the edge so we had no comfort in winning the race, we just had to focus on making no mistakes.”
Bird started the race from pole after Antonio Felix da Costa’s received a penalty for a tyre-pressure infringement. The Virgin-driver kept Di Grassi at bay and also Venturi’s Stéphane Sarrazin was always close to the leaders.
Buemi tried to move up the order after a disappointing qualifying but his surge for a podium finish came to a halt when he drove over the back of Frijns’ car who was running in fourth position. Both made it back to the garages to change cars, but as it was too early in the race, they had no chance to battle for a good position with the second car.
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Meanwhile di Grassi had passed Bird and also after the car change the Brazilian was in front. The British however, did everything to pass his rival but made an error and touched the wall. The Virgin driver ultimately finished in sixth.
Near the end of the race the safety car neutralised the Long Beach ePrix after Nelson Piquet Jr crashed out on the exit of Turn 1.
The race restarted with three laps to go and there was no change in order. Di Grassi won, in front of Sarrazin. Daniel Abt made it onto the podium, in front of countryman Nick Heidfeld. Bruno Senna was ranked fifth behind his team mate. Bird followed in sixth, followed by Jerome D’Ambrosio, Loïc Duval, Simona de Silvestro and Mike conway in tenth.
Di Grassi now leads the championship with 101 points. Buemi has collected 100 points so far.