- Oct 27, 2014
Though the series missed out on seven different winners from seven races, all the current championship contenders ran at the front, and this race leaves the top three separated by just ten points with four races to go.
Buemi started from pole and thus was well clear of the chaos behind as the field embarked on the shortened version of the legendary principality circuit. A massive pileup occurred heading into the Avenue du Président Kennedy, and of course it involved the usual unlucky ones; triggered by Nicolas Prost (e-Dams) tagging Daniel Abt (Audi Sport ABT) into the barriers, the concertina effect almost sent Bruno Senna’s Mahindra upside down; another written-off weekend for two drivers who really have deserved better.
Prost later said he thought the corner was too tight, and I’m inclined to agree with him. The inside wall possibly extended too far out, producing a very narrow line and at least the strong possibility of a first corner incident with twenty cars all trying to get through at once. All of Formula E’s layouts, even at more established venues like Monaco and Long Beach back in April, are new, and necessary improvements via driver consultation can hopefully be made for next season.
Andretti Autosport was perhaps the team which suffered most from the crash: Jean-Éric Vergne’s broken suspension left his race compromised from the beginning, forced to switch to his second car, and gaining two points for fastest lap was the best he could do from there. Teammate Scott Speed drove on with a damaged front wing and was dropped from 8th by a penalty for exceeding allowed power output.
How was the new Monaco layout? About as difficult to overtake on as the regular version, though the new hairpin where the chicane would usually be provided the best opportunity. Nelson Piquet Jr (China Racing) pulled the move of the race on Jerome d’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) and Nick Heidfeld (Venturi) similarly outbraking Jarno Trulli (Trulli GP). But the lead battles in the second half remained in deadlock, di Grassi attempting a run round the outside after Buemi just remained in front after pitstops. Then Piquet Jr caught up, and almost bumped into the back of the Audi Sport ABT car in his attempts to pass before backing off towards the finish.
Relations were cool between the Brazilian drivers after qualifying, when Piquet Jr felt his compatriot got in the way of his fast lap; clearly being the top two title rivals is making things more tense. di Grassi will be pleased to slightly extend his lead over Piquet Jr, the latter admitting he underestimated how hard it would prove to overtake, but will want to arrest Buemi’s own run by becoming the series' next double winner.
Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) at least scored big points again after some mediocre results, but was still behind his biggest rivals in 4th; he risks losing too much championship ground if he can’t stop this trend in Berlin. Prost heads Bird in points, but faces a similar issue after another so-so race to 6th. Form could easily swing back the Miami winner's way, the series remains too new to rule anything out. Buemi was pretty anonymous in Miami, after all...
7th and 10th, shockingly, represents Venturi’s best results at a single race so far this season, with Stephane Sarrazin ahead of teammate Heidfeld. Based on the pace Heidfeld especially has shown, they really shouldn’t be 9th in the teams’ standings, nor should Mahindra, Karun Chandhok being unable to trouble the points-scoring positions after starting from the back.
Now that Formula E has reached Europe, the last few races are coming much more regularly. In less than two weeks' time the series races on the tarmac of Berlin's defunct Tempelhof airport, another completely new track. Who knows what twists the title battle will take next?
Race Result (43 laps)
1 Sébastien Buemi e-Dams 25 points
2 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT 18
3 Nelson Piquet Jr China Racing 15
4 Sam Bird Virgin Racing 12
5 Jérôme d'Ambrosio Dragon Racing 10
Pole Position: Sébastien Buemi e-Dams (3 points)
Fastest Lap: Jean-Éric Vergne Andretti Autosport (2 points)
Drivers’ Standings after 7 races
1 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT 93 points
2 Nelson Piquet Jr China Racing 89
3 Sébastien Buemi e-Dams 83
4 Nicolas Prost e-Dams 77
5 Sam Bird Virgin Racing 64
Teams’ Standings after 7 races
1 e-Dams 160 points
2 Audi Sport ABT 115
3 Virgin Racing 94
4 China Racing 93
5 Andretti Autosport 82
What did you think of the race? Did you have a favourite moment? Where would you rank this circuit in relation to the others so far? Comment below!