Last weekend’s IndyCar race featured a record number of overtakes and was incredibly exciting. But overtaking isn’t the be-all and end-all of motor racing, and the Formula E race in Uruguay proved just that.
After a slightly confusing and penalty-laden qualifying, Vergne eventually led the field away from pole ahead of Di Grassi, and that was pretty much the story at the front for the rest of the race. The two were rarely separated by more than a few tenths and despite Di Grassi’s best efforts, he couldn’t find a way through.
Their battling saw Sam Bird close up in the last few laps but he never really threatened the leaders. There were a few close calls and minor bits of contact, but overall it was a tense, fair and – most importantly – exciting battle which showed that quality defensive driving can be every bit as exciting (if not more so) than lots of overtaking. Vergne crossed the line to take his second win of the season with Di Grassi virtually glued to the back of him, the defending champ securing what is amazingly his first podium of the season.
That’s not to say the race was completely devoid of passing, though. Jose Maria Lopez went from 18th to eighth, Felix Rosenqvist from 12th to fifth and Mitch Evans (perhaps most impressively) from 16th to fourth.
Sebastien Buemi had an absolute ‘mare after hitting the wall early on and eventually retiring. Daniel Abt, winner last time out, was in the hunt at the front until he had to make a second pit stop after his seatbelts weren’t done up properly after the car swap, dropping to an eventual 14th.
All this means that Vergne now has a handy championship lead over of 30 points over Rosenqvist at the halfway stage of the championship. The ex-Toro Rosso man is stringing together a superb season, and with his rivals seeming unable to match his consistency, he’s starting to look like a solid favourite. That said, this is Formula E, a series where pretty much anything can (and often does) happen.