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Buemi wins as Vergne misses chance to seal title

Sunday 14th July, 2019 - 10:04am

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Sebastien Buemi pic: ABB Twitter

Sebastien Buemi won a thrilling penultimate race of the 2018/19 Formula E season in New York as championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne finished bruised and outside of the points.

Buemi capped a hot day in the Big Apple with an emphatic race win, his first of the campaign, having also secured pole position in the Nissan e.Dams entry.

Vergne was not able to seal what would be his second title in as many seasons after getting caught up in two incidents, having qualified 10th.

New Zealand’s Mitch Evans made up 11 places over the course of the race to finish in second in his Jaguar, with BMW I Andretti’s Antonio Felix da Costa rounding out the podium.

Breaking a two-year winless drought, Buemi got off to a perfect start by steering clear of the early carnage.

Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird instigated an incident between the two Geox Dragons, spinning Jose Maria Lopez and temporarily blocking the track at turn 7.

The field was backed up and Vergne was caught out, touching and turning his team-mate Andre Lotterer, with both DS Techeetahs having to pull into the pits for some quick repairs.

Lotterer’s car left a field of debris on track, but it was play on as Vergne was shuffled down to 21st.

Bird, however, was issued a 10-second time penalty for his part in the incident.

Buemi was sustaining pressure from the Panasonic Jaguar Racing entry of Alex Lynn while Alexander Sims was waiting in the wings in the #27 BMW I Andretti Motorsport car.

By Lap 18, fourth-placed Daniel Abt (Audi) was eager to gain an advantage on the top three and went to activate Attack Mode but missed the activation zone and was forced to make a second attempt.

Lynn was then unleashed by his team to attack for the race lead before the Jaguar suffered a mechanical failure, which saw him eventually coming to a halt on track.

Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra) had moved up to fourth as a consequence but lost a handful of spots in a matter of moments as Bird, da Costa, and Evans made their way past the German just as the Safety Car was called.

Vergne had made it back to 17th as the field bunched up under the Safety Car with Lucas Di Grassi (Audi), who qualified 14th, sitting ninth as officials set about recovering the stranded Jaguar.

As the field was released, Evans took third from Abt but was then under attack from da Costa.

The Kiwi was able to move away from the Portuguese driver and put a move on Sims for second, with da Costa also getting past the Brit.

Inside the last eight minutes, Edoardo Mortara (Venturi) was pushed into the wall and sustained damage after a multi-car scuffle.

By Lap 33, Vergne was back in a commanding championship position having moved into a points-scoring 10th position in the race and holding the fastest lap for an extra point.

However, again Vergne was caught up in chaos when he went for a final lap move on Felipe Massa (Venturi).

Massa turned in on him and the two connected, spinning the Brazilian and blocking the track, while Jerome D’Ambrosio’s Mahindra climbed over Massa and made it clear of the incident.

Buemi had a comfortable margin at the end as Evans had fallen back, complaining that his tyres had given way.

Da Costa and Sims finished third and fourth respectively, from Di Grassi and Abt.

Di Grassi now sits 22 points behind Vergne (130 points) while Evans is a full race win away from the leader (105 points).

The title will be decided tomorrow when the final race of the season starts at 0600 AEST.

Race results: Race 12, New York

Pos Driver Team Laps Race time/Split
1 Sébastien Buemi Nissan e.dams 36 46:16.399
2 Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 36 +0.932
3 António Félix da Costa BMW i Andretti Motorsport 36 +1.216
4 Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport 36 +2.971
5 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 36 +3.537
6 Daniel Abt Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 36 +4.380
7 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Racing 36 +6.543
8 Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing 36 +13.829
9 Jérôme d’Ambrosio Mahindra Racing 36 +23.719
10 Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team 36 +25.038
11 Gary Paffett HWA Racelab 36 +27.831
12 José María López Geox Dragon 36 +34.729
13 Stoffel Vandoorne HWA Racelab 36 +50.564
14 Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 36 +1:23.962
15 Jean-Éric Vergne DS Techeetah 36 +1:34.508
16 Felipe Massa Venturi Formula E Team 35 +1 Lap
17 André Lotterer DS Techeetah 35 +1 Lap
DNF Maximilian Günther Geox Dragon 28  
DNF Edoardo Mortara Venturi Formula E Team 27  
DNF Alex Lynn Panasonic Jaguar Racing 18  
DNF Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing 15  
DNF Tom Dillmann NIO Formula E Team 1  

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Jean-Éric Vergne 130
2 Lucas di Grassi 108
3 Mitch Evans 105
4 Sébastien Buemi 104
5 António Félix da Costa 97
6 André Lotterer 86
7 Daniel Abt 84
8 Robin Frijns 81
9 Sam Bird 73
10 Jérôme d’Ambrosio 67
11 Oliver Rowland 63
12 Pascal Wehrlein 58
13 Edoardo Mortara 52
14 Felipe Massa 36
15 Alexander Sims 36
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 31
17 Maximilian Günther 20
18 Alex Lynn 10
19 Gary Paffett 8
20 Oliver Turvey 7
21 José María López 3
22 Nelson Piquet Jnr 1
23 Tom Dillmann 0
24 Felipe Nasr 0
25 Felix Rosenqvist 0

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