Formula E Update: Lucas di Grassi Wins by the Sea in Long Beach

The second season of FIA Formula E is different.  In other nascent sports leagues you will often see one team or athlete “get it” more than others, and begin to pull away.  Great for them, not so much for fans or competition.  As much as I love the Silver Arrows of AMG Petronas, competition is better than dominance.

No so for Formula E.  Most of the top 10 names in the current 2016 Driver Standings are the same in the 2015 Final Driver Standings.  Sebastian Bueni.  Lucas di Grassi.  Sam Bird.  Jerome D’Ambrosio.  Loic Duval. Antonio Felix D’Acosta.  Formula E has figured out how to create cutthroat competition.  It helps that these drivers are really good as well.

Speaking of di Grassi, he took the checkered flag at Saturday’s ePrix in Long Beach, CA.  The win gives him the lead in the 2016 Driver’s Championship, elevating him above Renault eDams’  Sebastian Buemi by a mere point.

“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. Stephane 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.”

 

It also helps that your car and team are good enough to help you start in the 3rd position.  It is always a good thing if the pole sitter is disqualified and you move up as well.  Felix Da Costa of Team Aguri was pushed to the back of the pack because his tire pressure was .005 (yes, .005) too high. Da Costa’s bad luck meant di Grassi slipped into the front row.



di Grassi battled Virgin’s Sam Bird for about a third of the race.  Then Bird disappeared from the lead.  Literally.  It looked as if di Grassi said “I’m done with this”, and slipped past Bird on a straightaway of Lap 12.  From there, he simply fended them off to victory.

Best pass?  Sebastian Buemi’s move past Daniel Abt during Lap 9.  The move helped make up for what was a pretty bad day for Team Renault eDams.  Worst pass?  A few laps later when Sebastian Buemi miscalculated science, physics and the rest of the laws of nature, smacking into the back end of Andretti’s Robin Frijins.

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Sebastian James

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Accept no substitutes

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