The 2018/19 Formula E championship will go right down to the wire as Sebastien Buemi won the incident-packed penultimate race in New York, while championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne walked away with no points scored after enduring two separate crashes. The victory ended Nissan driver Buemi’s two-year win drought and sees him enter championship contention.
Starting the race from pole position, Buemi pulled away at the start to hold on to the race lead. Chaos broke out on the next lap as Sam Bird tapped Jose Maria Lopez’s Geox Dragon car, causing it to spin – an incident for which Bird received a 10-second penalty. Andre Lotterer swerved into his teammate Vergne as he tried to avoid the pack, resulting in both DS Techeetah drivers suffering damage. With a punctured rear tyre, Vergne was forced to pit for a new tyre and nose change, and by the time he re-joined the track, he was down in 19th place. Soon after, Lotterer also dived into the pits for repairs.
Out at front, Alex Lynn was starting to pressure Buemi for the race lead. But with 20 minutes to go, Lynn’s car grinded to a halt as he lost drive while heading towards the Turn 10 hairpin, bringing out the safety car. At the re-start, Alexander Sims – who was now running in 2nd place – came under pressure from Daniel Abt. But Abt ran wide and dropped to 9th place as he attempted to overtake Sims at Turn 2, thereby promoting Mitch Evans to 3rd. Evans then moved up to 2nd place after overtaking Sims down the inside of Turn 6.
Evans briefly challenged Buemi for the race win, but then fell back after making a mistake at Turn 6 and had to defend his position from BMW's Antonio Felix da Costa. This allowed Buemi to cross the finish line to win the race by a margin of 0.932sec. Meanwhile, Evans was able to hold off da Costa to take 2nd place. Elsewhere, Vergne had managed to fight his way up to a points-scoring position.
However, a collision with Felipe Massa on the last lap ended his chances of sealing the championship. He did manage to drive his heavily damaged car past the chequered flag, but a 15th place finish meant he scored no points.
Sims was able to finish in 4th place, followed by championship contender Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt. Both Mahindra Racing drivers finished in the points, with Pascal Wehrlein in 7th place and Jerome d’Ambrosio in 9th place. Bird ended up finishing 8th after his penalty was applied, while Oliver Turvey wrapped up the top 10.
Heading into the final race of the season in New York, it’s now a four-way battle for the title, with Vergne leading the standings, 22 points ahead of di Grassi. Evans is three points adrift of di Grassi, while Buemi trails Evans by just one point.
|2019 New York E-Prix Results|
|3||Antonio Felix da Costa||BMW||BMW||1.216s|
|5||Lucas di Grassi||Audi||Audi||3.537s|
|12||Jose Maria Lopez||Dragon||Penske||34.729s|
|15||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Techeetah||DS||1m34.508s|
|16||Felipe Massa||Venturi||Venturi||1 Lap|
|17||Andre Lotterer||DS Techeetah||DS||1 Lap|