Buemi starts title defence with Hong Kong victory

Renault e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi started the defence of his Formula E title in style with victory in the Hong Kong ePrix on Sunday.

Buemi started the race fifth on the grid after season one champion Nelson Piquet Jr. qualified in pole position ahead of NextEV teammate Oliver Turvey.

However, by the end of the race, the leaderboard had a familiar feel to it with Buemi’s title rival from last season, Lucas di Grassi, finishing second while Mahindra driver Nick Heidfeld claimed third spot.

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport driver Di Grassi was part of a chain-reaction collision on the first corner that saw Ma Qing Hua exit the race and Daniel Abt take damage to his car.

Luckily for Di Grassi, he was able to pit quickly and grab a new nosecone for his machine which gave him enough time to recover and finish second behind Buemi.

Piquet held on to his lead position during the early exchanges but a crash involving Jose Maria Lopez was to change the race.

The Brazilian, who eventually finished in 11th position, was forced to take evasive action to avoid Lopez as he came up to lap the DS Virgin Racing rookie driver, which meant he slipped down to third behind Sam Bird and Buemi.

With the safety car on track, Renault e.dams decided to bring Buemi into the pits. Meanwhile, Bird’s team chose to keep the Brit out there to see if they could extend their lead over the Swiss driver.

When Bird eventually came in later in the race, a technical fault meant he struggled out of the garage and slipped to 13th on the race card.

That mistake meant Buemi crossed the finish line in first from Di Grassi – who had started the race in 19th – while Heidfeld grabbed the final place on the podium.

Grassi was asked whether his victory in Hong Kong was down to strategy, he replied: “Yeah, of course.

“It was not an easy race as we had a really long stint and I had to save a lot of energy. At the end I lost all of the regen with the battery over heating massively, so I think one more lap would have been impossible to do.”

The next Formula E race is in Marrakech on November 12.

1. Sebastien Buemi – Renault e.dams
2. Lucas di Grassi – ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
3. Nick Heidfeld – Mahindra Racing
4. Nico Prost – Renault e.dams
5. Antonio Felix da Costa – Andretti Formula E
6. Robin Frijns – Andretti Formula E
7. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Faraday Future Dragon Racing
9. Oliver Turvey – NEXTEV NIO
9. Maro Engel – Venturi Formula E Team
10. Stephane Sarrazin – Venturi Formula E Team
11. Nelson Piquet Jr. – NEXTEV NIO
12. Adam Carroll – Panasonic Jaguar Racing
13. Sam Bird – DS Virgin Racing
14. Loic Duval – Faraday Future Dragon Racing
15. Felix Rosenqvist – Mahindra Racing
DNF Daniel Abt – ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
DNF Jean-Eric Vergne – TECHEETAH
DNF Mitch Evans – Panasonic Jaguar Racing
DNF Jose Maria Lopez – DS Virgin Racing
DNF Ma Qing Hua – TECHEETAH

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