Di Grassi wins wild Malaysia Formula E race
Lucas di Grassi has moved to the top of the FIA Formula E Championship standings after coming through a chaotic race on the streets of Putrajaya.
In what proved to a be a race of attrition in hot and humid conditions, di Grassi emerged in the lead on lap 24 of the 33 lap contest, which he transformed into a relatively comfortable win.
DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird trailed the Brazilian by more than 13 seconds to finish second, while Andretti’s Robin Frijns managed to guide a heavily damaged car home in third.
The race began with a delayed start as Stephane Sarrazin lost power forcing the Frenchman, who qualified second, to start from the back of the grid.
Pole-sitter Sebastien Buemi led the way at the start with Loic Duval slotting into second ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa.
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Di Grassi occupied fifth behind Nicolas Prost who quickly moved to third after a Safety Car period caused by Oliver Turvey, when he went straight on at Turn 5.
Buemi quickly opened up a healthy 2.6s lead once racing resumed before his victory hopes unravelled when his Renault e.dams car was hit by a software issue.
The slowing Swiss driver dropped down the order as he limped back to the pits with the Renault team electing to bring Prost in to change cars at the same time.
This sparked a flurry of activity in the pits and once the mandatory stops were completed Prost emerged in the lead from di Grassi and da Costa.
Di Grassi wasted little time behind Prost as he dived by the Frenchman for the lead on lap 24.
Prost soon struggled for pace which allowed Duval, Jerome d’Ambosio and Frijns through, while da Costa suffered a mechanical problem that saw him briefly stop on track.
The complexion of the race changed again when Duval, D’Ambrosio and Frijns all encounterd separate dramas.
A suspension failure was the reason for Duval’s demise while a crash for D’Ambrosio saw both Dragon cars throw away potential podium results.
Meanwhile, a mistake from Frijns saw him collide with the wall damaging his suspension but somehow he managed to keep his crabbing car going to secure third.
However, his collision with the wall allowed Bird, who started from 14th, to inherit second spot.
While Di Grassi led home Bird and Frijns, Sarrazin emerged in fourth ahead of Bruno Senna and the recovering da Costa.
Daniel Abt finished seventh in front of reigning champion Nelson Piquet Jnr, Heidfeld, who spun on the opening lap, and Prost.
Buemi, who led the championship heading into the meeting, recovered to claim 12th spot.
Di Grassi holds an eight point lead prior to Formula E’s visit to Uruguay’s Punta del Este street circuit on December 19.
Result: FIA Formula E Championship, Putrajaya
|1||Lucas di Grassi||Abt||33 Laps|
|6||Antonio Felix da Costa||Aguri||+36.925s|
|8||Nelson Piquet Jr.||China||+40.623s|
|13||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti||+1:24.464s|
|14||Jerome D’Ambrosio||Dragon||+1 Lap|
|15||Nathanael Berthon||Aguri||+1 Lap|
|16||Loic Duval||Dragon||+4 Laps|