JEV crushed it in qualifying to take pole, but despite being harried by title rival Sam Bird for the first half of the race, he eased ahead after the pit stops to take what was a fairly comfortable and emotional victory in his home race, which he called the best of his career. But whilst Vergne had a serene race, behind him things were a bit more manic. Well, it is Formula E…
On the first lap, a classic midfield-Formula E-concertina left a few cars with damage. Nico Prost lost his rear wing in the incident and actually spend several laps afterwards racing around without one before finally being called into the pits.
Following the pit stops, Bird didn’t have quite as much pace and dropped back into the clutches of Vergne’s Techeetah teammate, Andre Lotterer. It’s only his first season in the series and although fast, Lotterer has developed something of a reputation for being somewhat ‘robust’ in his racing approach. He lunged past Bird and though the move stuck, it certainly wasn’t pretty.
Lucas di Grassi had jumped through the field thanks to some handy energy-saving in the first stint, and in the closing laps was all over the back of Lotterer for second. Andre’s defensive moves got right up the Brazilian’s nose, with Lucas calling him a ‘mother lover’ (but with ruder words) over team radio.
Lotterer held him off but was burning up his useable energy to do so. With a few corners to go he had to back right off. That gave di Grassi second, but third wasn’t decided in quite such a straightforward manner.
Yup, that’s Bird going on to take third on three wheels! Maro Engel took fourth and Sebastien Buemi fifth, whilst Lotterer dropped to sixth.
Unsurprisingly there were a few people unhappy with the German’s driving after the race and he’s been handed a 10-place grid penalty for the next race in Berlin as a result.
Vergne’s win puts him 31 points ahead of Bird in the championship with just four races left to go this season. Felix Rosenqvist (who finished eighth in Paris) is still third, but 61 points behind Vergne, making it look like the title is now a two-horse race between Vergne and Bird.