The points that Nicolas Prost harvested with his seventh-place finish helped e-dams-Renault to take the lead in the teams’ ratings.
The e-dams-Renault team has been among the front-runners since the start of the season, and it finally scored its maiden victory in the third round of the championship thanks to a superb drive by Sébastien Buemi who has moved up to third place in the drivers’ classification.
This time Nicolas Prost didn’t manage to clinch pole, but the points he harvested with his seventh-place finish helped e-dams-Renault to take the lead in the teams’ ratings.
The third round was held in Punta del Este, the St Tropez of South America, but the French squad wasn’t there just to do a bit of sight-seeing! The e-dams-Renault drivers laid down a marker straight away on the circuit beside the beach as Prost set the fastest time in the opening practice session.
In qualifying the second row was an all-blue affair with Prost clinching the third-quickest time and Buemi the fourth. Pole went to rookie Jean-Eric Vergne driving for Andretti.
Both e-dams-Renault drivers made good starts and they were among the front-runners throughout the race despite two safety car deployments. Buemi in third place early on took advantage of the car changes to go into the lead and finish in first place.
Prost was well placed for most of the race until he was given a drive–through penalty for over-consumption. He used the final hectic laps to fight his way back to seventh-place. The team reaped a great harvest of points and e-dams-Renault can look forward to the next round with their confidence at an all-time high!
Alain Prost (joint-owner): “A big bravo to the whole team. Everybody did a great job and I’m very happy with our first victory, in particular for Sébastien who had a difficult start to the championship. He clinched a fantastic win after what was a very closely-fought spectacular race. I’m a bit disappointed for Nicolas; he would have finished higher up without that energy consumption problem. The championship is very tight and we have to stay on our guard all the time!”
Jean-Paul Driot (joint-owner): “I’m over the moon! This victory is very important for us. The team did a fantastic job and I’m delighted with Sébastien’s win. He really deserved it after all the problems he had in the opening rounds. I’m also very sorry for Nicolas who again showed just how quick he is and he didn’t reap the rewards he deserved. We’ll have a long, hard look at his problem to find out why it happened.”
Sébastien Buemi: “I’m really very happy. After the first podium finish our first victory! I’d like to say a big thank you to the team, which gave me a superb car and did a superb job, in particular with a perfect pit stop. We really improved the car between practice and the race. Even if it was pretty hot with Vergne towards the end I had everything under control and all’s well that ends well!”
Nicolas Prost: “First of all, congratulations to Sébastien and the team. Obviously, I’m frustrated with my seventh place. It doesn’t reflect our potential as we had what it took to clinch a podium finish today. I’m happy with my qualifying performance as I gave the maximum. Everything was going well in the race until that issue with energy consumption arose that ended in a penalty. But we know the performance is there and the wind will finally start blowing in my direction.”
Summary: Punta del Este
Qualifying: Prost P3, Buemi P4
Race: Buemi P1, Prost P7.
Drivers’ Championship: 1. Di Grassi (Audi-Abt), 58 points ; 2. Bird (Virgin), 40 ; 3. Buemi, 40 ; 4. Prost, 24.
Teams’ Championship.: 1. e-dams-Renault, 64 points ; 2. Abt-Audi, 62 ; 3. Virgin, 54.
Next round: Buenos Aires (Argentina), 10th January.