Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport driver Lucas di Grassi strengthened his Formula E title bid after triumphing at the Long Beach ePrix on Sunday.
Di Grassi’s victory redeemed his heartbreak in Mexico City three weeks ago, where he was stripped of his win after his car was found to be underweight.
DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird took the early lead with Di Grassi hot on his trail, while pole leader Antonio Felix da Costa was sent to the back of the grid after his left tire was 0.05 psi under pressure. Da Costa did not manage to finish as he retired in the latter stages of the race.
Bird maintained his position ahead of the pack until Di Grassi overtook him on lap 12. The 31-year-old stayed in the lead through the pit stops and began to open up a bigger advantage before seeing his lead cut down when reigning champion Nelson Piquet Jr crashed at Turn 1 on lap 34 and could not move his car out of the way.
With the safety car having been called for, the race came down to a three-lap sprint and Di Grassi kept his cool to claim victory, while Venturi’s Stephane Sarrazin survived a lock-up at the hairpin to finish second. Di Grassi’s team-mate Daniel Abt came third, while Nick Heidfeld and Bruno Senna rounded off the top five.
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Formula E championship leader Sebastien Buemi stayed in contention early on, but his chances of winning the race disappeared when he collided with Robin Frijns. Buemi went on to finish in 16th. With his victory at Long Beach, Di Grassi overtook Buemi on the Formula E standings and has 101 points to his name, while Buemi is one point back on 100. Bird occupies third place with 63 points.