Nelson Piquet Jr claimed a comfortable Moscow ePrix victory to extend his Formula E championship lead at the head of the standings.
Piquet’s second win for the NEXTEV TCR team increased his championship lead and ensures he heads into the season finale double-header in London with a 12-point lead.
It was a mixed race for his title challengers. Lucas di Grassi closed his fellow Brazilian down in the second half of the race, reducing the gap from six seconds to 1.6s at its smallest. But the charge had taken the Audi Sport ABT car’s battery to its maximum temperature and he was forced to slow to let it cool down.
Who knows what the race would have been like if he had found a way by poleman Jean-Eric Vergne before the pitstops, but with overtaking extremely tricky around the Moscow street track he had to bide his time. Still after the disappointment of Berlin, he was pleased to show he and the team still had good pace.
For Sebastien Buemi the race was even more fraught. Stuck behind Vergne and di Grassi from the start, he was able to conserve energy and stay out a lap longer than his rivals. It could have been a winning strategy, but amazingly his e.dams-Renault team mistook the minimum pitstop time and held the Swiss driver in the pits for 68 seconds rather than the mandated 58.
Having lost 10 seconds, Buemi was on a charge late on, and went wheel-to-wheel with Vergne – both drivers cutting the chicane with Buemi emerging ahead. If he had thoughts of letting the Andretti driver repass, they were undone with Nick Heidfeld took full advantage of the confusion to nip into third. All three cars touched through the Turn 11 hairpin and they were covered by fractions as they crossed the line.
Vergne had the satisfaction of taking two points and the trophy for the Visa Fastest Lap as well as fifth place.
Daniel Abt had a welcome trouble-free run to sixth for ABT, while Salvador Duran scored his best ever Formula E result with a convincing drive to seventh for Amlin Aguri. Team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa had to produce a battling drive to get to eighth, fighting his way past an obdurate Jarno Trulli in the process.
The Italian spent much of the race defending his position until finally his resolve was punctured by a late-braking Loic Duval who rammed the rear of the Trulli with his Dragon Racing machine as he was actually battling Justin Wilson. It had been a strong drive from the back for the Frenchman, whose qualifying was ruined when the car went into neutral.
Trulli’s race was over, which meant Wilson picked up a point for 10th place on his Formula E debut. Ninth place for Nicolas Prost pretty much ends his title challenge, while a pitstop problem for Jerome D’Ambrosio means there’s now effectively a three-way fight for the title.
Drivers’ Standings (After Rd 9):
1. Nelson Piquet Jr. – 128 pts
2. Sebastien Buemi – 116 pts
3. Lucas di Grassi – 111 pts
4. Nicolas Prost – 80 pts
5. Jerome d’Ambrosio – 77 pts
6. Sam Bird – 68 pts
7. Jean-Eric Vergne – 50 pts
8. Antonio Felix da Costa – 45 pts
9. Daniel Abt – 30 pts
10. Jaime Alguersuari – 30 pts
Teams’ Standings (After Rd 9):
1. e.dams-Renault Formula E – 196 pts
2. Audi Sport ABT Formula E – 141 pts
3. NEXTEV TCR (China Racing Formula E) – 132 pts
4. Dragon Racing Formula E – 116 pts
5. Andretti Formula E – 99 pts
6. Virgin Racing Formula E – 98 pts
7. Amlin Aguri Formula E – 58 pts
8. Mahindra Racing Formula E – 46 pts
9. Venturi Formula E – 46 pts
10. Trulli Formula E – 17 pts