Montreal ePrix: Di Grassi crowned as Vergne takes first win

Abt Audi’s Lucas di Grassi was crowned the 2016/17 Formula E champion with seventh place in the Montreal season finale, which was won by Jean-Eric Vergne.

Montreal ePrix: Di Grassi crowned as Vergne takes first win
Start: Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing leads
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, celebrates after winning the race
Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, Stéphane Sarrazin, Techeetah starts to spin
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, celebrates with his team after winning the Championship
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, celebrates with his team after winnin the championship
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, celebrates with his team after winning the race
Stéphane Sarrazin, Techeetah spins
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Sébastien Buemi, Renault e.Dams
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport

Di Grassi became the third champion in three seasons of the electric single-seater series as title rival Sebastien Buemi endured a terrible race. 

Buemi’s 13th-place start put him in the firing line at the start for the second time this weekend, and he picked up rear bodywork damage when the pack concertinaed at Turn 1 after Stephane Sarrazin spun following contact from Daniel Abt. 

That meant Buemi was flagged into the pits for repairs, and although the offending part fell off his Renault e.dams he was still forced to stop.Buemi had made up two places before doing so but the impromptu trip to the pitlane ruined his race and made a difficult task almost impossible. 

Though he charged back up the order, Buemi finished a point-less 11th, and his misfortune allowed di Grassi to coast to the end of the race. 

Title glory for di Grassi

The Brazilian was aggressive when required, though, after dropping to 10th at one stage. He fought back to sixth, then handed the position to team-mate Abt on the final lap and clinched the crown at the third attempt in seventh place. 

Di Grassi – who finished third in the first season and second, behind Buemi, in 2015/16 – was in tears on his inlap, after snatching a title that seemed destined for Buemi until this final weekend. 

Buemi’s disqualification on Saturday, having risen to fourth from 12th on the grid, and a poor qualifying performance for the final race meant di Grassi turned a 10-point deficit coming to Montreal into a comfortable, 24-point winning margin.

The swinging title fortunes detracted attention from Vergne’s first win in FE, a feat he has been waiting to achieve since claiming pole on his debut in round three of the inaugural campaign. 

Vergne thwarts Rosenqvist

Vergne had to catch and pass poleman Felix Rosenqvist in the second half of the race, after the Mahindra driver stopped a lap earlier than his pursuer to swap cars. 

That gave Rosenqvist a five-second lead once Vergne stopped but also meant he had to go a lap longer in his second car, and Vergne gradually ate into the advantage.  

He took the lead with a relatively simple move and eased clear to score his and Techeetah’s first victory in FE. 

Rosenqvist briefly came under pressure from Jose Maria Lopez for second after the DS Virgin Racing driver charged from 11th on the grid. 

Lopez faded on the penultimate lap though, leaving Mahindra’s Rosenqvist to secure third place in the drivers’ championship in his rookie season. 

Sam Bird finished fourth behind team-mate Lopez, with Nick Heidfeld fifth in the second Mahindra. 

Sarrazin recovered from his first-corner spin to claim eighth with a fighting drive, while Jerome d’Ambrosio and Tom Dillmann completed the point scorers.

Montreal ePrix results:

shares
comments
Buemi's "ridiculous" anger surprises Abt, Frijns
Previous article

Buemi's "ridiculous" anger surprises Abt, Frijns

Next article

Buemi says “no regrets” despite Formula E title loss

Buemi says “no regrets” despite Formula E title loss
Load comments
Why Maserati's shift to Formula E is a win for both sides Prime

Why Maserati's shift to Formula E is a win for both sides

Maserati will make a full-factory return to racing, joining the Formula E grid in 2023 with a view to electrifying its road car portfolio. In that regard it makes sense for Maserati - but it's also a win for the series as it seeks to rebound from losing three of its heavyweight German giants in the space of a few months

Formula E
Jan 11, 2022
The fundamental questions facing a Formula E junior series Prime

The fundamental questions facing a Formula E junior series

As Formula E prepares to enter its new Gen3 era, many have pondered the prospect of its existing machines continuing in a feeder category. But before such a programme could be embarked on, there are several important questions that must be satisfactorily answered.

Formula E
Jan 4, 2022
De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2 Prime

De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was wide open until the final race after its most unpredictable season yet. Eventual champion Nyck de Vries explains why this made his title-winning experience such a different experience to conquering F2 in 2019

Formula E
Dec 7, 2021
Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong Prime

Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong

Formula E welcomes a mix of past, present and future for the 2021-22 season. The old guard facing off against a sprinkling of newcomers, a fresh qualifying format amid a sporting rules shake-up and a range of minor tweaks to the existing all-electric machines are all subplots to the final campaign before the next generation arrives

Formula E
Dec 3, 2021
The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams Prime

The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams

Electing not to share data with its competitive customer team would have been a straightforward means of gaining an edge on at least one of Mercedes' Formula E rivals last season. But by reciprocating the relationship forged under its initial HWA guise, when it was a customer to Venturi, both teams have reaped the rewards

Formula E
Nov 30, 2021
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Prime

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

Formula E
Nov 29, 2021
How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself Prime

How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself

OPINION: Few figures in racing today divide opinion like Dan Ticktum. The Formula 2 race winner now has the chance to wipe his professional slate clean with his move into Formula E, but it won't be easy at the squad which has brought up the rear for the past three years. Here are the three key criteria he must meet to make a lasting impression on the series.

Formula E
Nov 27, 2021
How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E Prime

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls

Formula E
Nov 26, 2021