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2017 Montreal ePrix

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2017 Montreal ePrix
Race 11 of 12 of the 2016–17 Formula E season
Montreal Layout 2016.png
Race details
Date 29 July 2017
Official name 2017 FIA Formula E Hydro-Québec Montréal ePrix
Location Montreal Street Circuit, Montreal, Quebec
Course Street circuit
Course length 2.745 km (1.706 mi)
Distance 35 laps, 96.075 km (59.698 mi)
Weather Dry with air temperatures approaching 24.1 °C (75.4 °F); wind speeds up to 11.1 kilometres per hour (6.9 mph)[1]
Pole position
Driver Audi Sport ABT
Time 1:22.869
Fastest lap
Driver France Loïc Duval Dragon-Penske
Time 1:24.536 on lap 19
Podium
First Audi Sport ABT
Second Techeetah-Renault
Third Techeetah-Renault
2017 Montreal ePrix
Race 12 of 12 of the 2016–17 Formula E season
Montreal Layout 2016.png
Race details
Date 30 July 2017
Official name 2017 FIA Formula E Hydro-Québec Montréal ePrix
Location Montreal Street Circuit, Montreal, Quebec
Course Street circuit
Course length 2.745 km (1.706 mi)
Distance 37 laps, 101.565 km (63.110 mi)
Weather Dry, Air: 27.05 to 27.75 °C (80.69 to 81.95 °F), Track: 30.55 and 31.10 °C (86.99 and 87.98 °F)
Pole position
Driver Mahindra
Time 1:22.344
Fastest lap
Driver France Nico Prost e.Dams-Renault
Time 1:23.444 on lap 28
Podium
First Techeetah-Renault
Second Mahindra
Third Virgin-Citroën

The 2017 Montreal ePrix (formally the 2017 FIA Formula E Hydro-Québec Montréal ePrix) was a pair of Formula E electric car races held on 29 and 30 July 2017 at the Montreal Street Circuit in Montreal, Quebec before a two-day crowd of 45,000 people. They were the eleventh and twelfth races of the 2016–17 Formula E season and the first and only running of the event. The first race, contested over 35 laps on 29 July, was won by Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas di Grassi after starting from pole position. Jean-Éric Vergne finished second for the Techeetah team and his teammate Stéphane Sarrazin came third. The longer 37-lap race held the following day was won by Vergne from a third place start. Felix Rosenqvist took second for the Mahindra team and Virgin driver José María López placed third.

Di Grassi won the pole position for the first race by recording the fastest lap in qualifying and held off an challenge from Sarrazin to maintain the lead at the start of the event and pulled away from the field. Attention focused on his championship rival Sébastien Buemi, demoted from second to twelfth on the grid for changing his battery, after sustaining steering arm damage on the first lap but was able to move up the field during the course of the ePrix. The race was neutralised with a full course yellow flag when Loïc Duval and Nick Heidfeld collided on the 14th lap. Most drivers made pit stops to switch into a second car and di Grassi remained the leader following the end of the pit stops. Sarrazin ceded second to teammate Vergne who then started to draw closer to di Grassi but his chase was neutralised when López crashed on lap 24, necessitating the safety car's deployment. Di Grassi kept the lead at the restart five laps later and held off Vergne for the remainder of the race to secure his second victory of the season and the sixth of his career. No lead changes occurred, as di Grassi was the only driver to lead laps in the first race.

Rosenqvist was the fastest driver for qualifying for the second race and maintained his startline advantage on the first lap. After Sarrazin spun at the first turn from contact with Daniel Abt and Nelson Piquet Jr., Buemi was hit from behind by António Félix da Costa, damaging his right-rear wheel guard which flailed in the wind before detaching itself. Buemi was required to make a pit stop, dropping him down the order. With more electrical energy to use, Vergne began attacking Rosenqvist for the lead after ten laps and took over the lead for one lap when the change into second cars began on the 18th lap. After the completion of pit stops, Rosenqvist reclaimed the lead with a five-second advantage over Vergne who began regaining the lost time having made his stop one lap later than him. Vergne again had more usable electrical energy and took advantage of Rosenqvist running slower to overtake him on the 29th lap. Vergne kept the lead for the rest of the ePrix to clinch his maiden Formula E victory. There were four lead changes among three different drivers during the course of the second race.

Di Grassi overturned Buemi's advantage in the Drivers' Championship to become the third champion in Formula E history with a 24-point advantage over his rival. Rosenqvist's performances enabled him to secure third, five points ahead of Sam Bird. Vergne's strong performance in both races allowed him to consolidate fifth position. Despite its poor form in the second race, e.Dams-Renault secured their third consecutive Teams' Championship with a 20-point lead over their rivals Audi Sport ABT. Mahindra finished the season in third place with Virgin a further 25 points behind in fourth. Techeetah's strong performance in both races allowed the team to consolidate fifth place.

Background to race weekend[edit]

Preview[edit]

Before the race, e.Dams-Renault driver Sébastien Buemi led the Drivers' Championship with 157 points, ten ahead of nearest rival Lucas di Grassi in second, who in turn, was a further 43 in front of third-placed Felix Rosenqvist. Sam Bird was fourth on 100 points and Nico Prost stood in fifth place with 84 points.[2] e.Dams-Renault were leading the Teams' Championship with 259 points; Audi Sport ABT were in second place on 194 points and Mahindra with 182 points contended the team for the position. With 153 points, Virgin were in fourth position and Techeetah rounded out the top five with 94 points.[2] e.Dams-Renault and Buemi had dominated the championship with three other drivers winning races during the course of the season. Di Grassi, Bird, Jean-Éric Vergne, José María López and Rosenqvist had all finished in second place at least once, and Mahindra teammates Rosenqvist and Heidfeld along with di Grassi, Bird and Stéphane Sarrazin had all taken at least one third-place result.[3] A maximum of fifty-nine points were available for the final ePrix which meant di Grassi could still win the title if he won both races and Buemi placed second twice without taking both pole positions.[4]

After reducing Buemi's lead by 22 points in the preceding New York City ePrix, di Grassi stated that his team had to improve vastly in gaining any hope of winning the championship in Montreal and was feeling more confident that he previously been: "With the experience that I have with Formula E, you know that it can go from hell to heaven any weekend, any race. We just have to do our best, try and win both races and see how it goes."[5] Buemi, the pre-title favourite, missed the New York City races because of a World Endurance Championship commitment at the Nürburgring, but stated he would prepare for the Montreal double header in the same way as he would with any other ePrix: "We will try to do the best possible. I hope we can finish this season in style and look forward to it."[6] He created controversy when he raised the issue of his crash with di Grassi at the 2016 London ePrix, saying: "If [a collision] happens once more like this, what do you think people will think then? It will be very hard to explain for him. He can't afford anything like that again for his reputation, can he?"[7] Di Grassi responded by noting Buemi lost the first season championship through a driver error and said Buemi had more pressure and another mistake would prevent him from reclaiming the title: "Everyone feels pressure in a different way of course. He has pressure big time this weekend, much more than me, this is because everyone will be waiting to see if those mistakes come again in Montreal."[8]

Preparation[edit]

In September 2014 the Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre announced he was holding advance discussions with Jean Todt, the president of motorsport's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) over holding an motor racing event in the city. Although it was mooted that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve be used to hold the race, Coderre preferred utilizing streets in the city centre. After flying to Miami to meet with Formula E holding's executive director in March 2015, Corderre said two months later that "informal agreements" had been reached with series promoters, enabling racing to be held in Montreal's streets.[9] Planning for the event began in January 2016,[10] and a six-year contact was later signed with an option for renewing available after half the time has passed.[11] The event was later confirmed as part of Formula E's 2016–17 series schedule in September 2016 by the FIA World Motor Sport Council as a double header round. They were the eleventh and twelfth scheduled single-seater electric car races of the season, and were held on 29 and 30 July 2017 at the Montreal Street Circuit.[12] The city expected 60,000 people to attend the two-day ePrix.[13]

Prior to the ePrix double header, Formula One had visited the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve intermittently since 1978 and it was the first time the championship was decided anywhere other than the Battersea Park Street Circuit in London.[14] The first pictures of the fourteen-turn 2.75-kilometre (1.71 mi) track layout were released to the press on 21 October 2016.[15] Construction of the grandstands and the paddock for the race started on 15 July, two weeks before the first ePrix, and the circuit foundations were completely dismantled ten days after the double header had ended.[16] Race ambassador and former driver Patrick Carpentier believed the track's layout would challenge drivers and felt the best place for overtaking would occur driving into the first turn.[17] Drivers voiced positive feelings about the track with di Grassi calling it possibly "one of the best tracks in Formula E history" and Rosenqvist said it looked "fantastic" because of the its elevation change which is in contrast to most circuits in Formula E which are held on flat surfaces.[18] However, local residents complained over the lack of access and the track's use of public streets and sidewalks for private purposes was questioned.[19]

Race one[edit]

Practice and qualifying[edit]

Two practice sessions—both on Saturday morning—were held before the late afternoon race. The first session ran for 45 minutes and the second for half an hour.[20] Both practice sessions took place in dry and warm weather conditions.[21] Di Grassi used the 200 kilowatts (270 hp) available to him and recorded the first practice session's fastest lap at one minute and 22.451 seconds, almost 1.2 seconds faster than Bird in second and Vergne third. Buemi was fourth-fastest, ahead of Nico Prost, Rosenqvist. Sarrazin, Mitch Evans, Daniel Abt and Nelson Piquet Jr. in positions five to ten.[22] The track's surface caught several drivers off guard after locking their tyres, causing them to slide into the run-off areas, while multiple cars were affected by oversteer.[22] Abt broke the left-front rim on his car following an collision with the barriers lining the track.[23] In the second practice session, Prost was the quickest driver with a time of one minute and 22.180 seconds; Vergne was second and Rosenqvist placed third. Sarrazin was fourth-fastest; Heidfeld was fifth and Bird took sixth. Loïc Duval (Dragon) was seventh-fastest, Robin Frijns (Andretti) eighth and the two NextEV cars of Oliver Turvey and Piquet completed the top ten ahead of qualifying.[24] Di Grassi and Adam Carroll skidded under braking on the dusty surface and slid into the track's run-off areas.[25] Sarrazin later stopped at the pit lane exit but restarted his car without external aid.[26] Buemi glanced the Bus Stop chicane inside barrier, and speared straight into the exit wall at high speed. Buemi was unhurt and exited his car without external assistance. Because his vehicle was significantly damaged, he was forced to use his second car for qualifying.[24] The crash prompted the session to prematurely end with five minutes left as there was extensive damage to the barrier and debris was strewn across the circuit.[27] e.Dams-Renault mechanics worked for the next five hours to build a new car around a spare monocoque.[23]

Sam Bird (pictured in 2015) could not use the maximum power available to him and qualified down the field.

Saturday's afternoon qualifying session ran for an hour and was divided into four groups of five cars. Each group was determined by a lottery system and was permitted six minutes of on-track activity. All drivers were limited to two timed laps with one at maximum power. The fastest five overall competitors in the four groups participated in a "Super Pole" session with one driver on the track at any time going out in reverse order from fifth to first. Each of the five drivers was limited to one timed lap and the starting order was determined by the competitor's fastest lap times (Super Pole from first to fifth, and group qualifying from sixth to twentieth). The driver and team who recorded the fastest time were awarded three points towards their respective championships.[20] Qualifying was held in dry and warm weather conditions,[21] and the track appeared slower than in practice.[28] In the first group of five runners, where drivers waited three and a half minutes before venturing onto the track,[29] Duval was fastest, three-tenths of a seconds quicker than Abt.[21] The duo were followed by Bird who could not use the maximum amount of power available to him due to a mapping issue.[30] Piquet heavily locked his tyres on his maximum power lap,[31][32] and Jérôme d'Ambrosio was the first group's slowest (and overall) driver as he failed to reach the timing line to start his full power lap.[33] Track conditions improved in the second group which saw the five drivers wait until the closing seconds to begin their maximum power laps.[32][34] Sarrazin recorded the fastest lap time and Prost took second. Frijns was third-fastest.[32] António Félix da Costa attacked but struggled with understeer and slid his car to go half a second slower than Sarrazin. López was the second group's slowest participant after a similar mapping error to teammate Bird left him driving at a slower pace.[29][32][33]

In the third group, di Grassi set the fastest overall lap time of any driver at one minute and 23.026 seconds. He was followed by Buemi in second position, followed by the third-placed Rosenqvist.[32] Vergne made an error en route to fourth place and Evans was the third group's slowest competitor.[28] Carroll set the fastest lap time of the fourth group with Turvey in second. Tom Dillmann was third-fastest, ahead of the fourth group's slowest two drivers: Heidfeld and Engel.[28][32] Heidfeld's slow form was caused by him sliding through the first turn and Engel appeared to have a similar problem to both Virgin cars.[33] After group qualifying ended, the lap times set by di Grassi, Buemi, Sarrazin, Rosenqvist and Prost were fast enough to progress them to super pole.[29] Di Grassi clinched his third pole position of the season with a time of one minute and 22.869 seconds, despite going four hundredths of a second slower in the first sector but regained time in the second sector. He was joined on the grid's front row by Buemi who recorded a lap 0.196 seconds off di Grassi's pace.[29][33] Sarrazin took third place by judging the first braking point correctly and demonstrated strong rear grip despite losing seven hundredths of a second through a driving error. Although he had a small amount of oversteer which cost him time Prost secured fourth.[29] Rosenqvist locked his rear brakes going into the first corner,[33] losing him one second worth of time and mustered fifth.[28] After qualifying, Buemi was demoted ten places on the grid because he changed his car's battery following his heavy second practice crash.[32] Following the application of penalties, the rest of the grid lined up as Vergne, Evans, Carroll, Turvey, Dillmann, Duval, Abt, Buemi, Frijns, Heidfeld, Félix da Costa, López, Engel, Bird, Piquet and d'Ambrosio.[21]

Race[edit]

Nick Heidfeld (pictured in 2014) retired after 14 laps following a collision with Loïc Duval.

Weather conditions at the start of the race were dry. The air temperature throughout the ePrix was between 24.10 to 24.55 °C (75.38 to 76.19 °F) with a track temperature ranging from 28.90 to 29.45 °C (84.02 to 85.01 °F).[21] A special feature of Formula E is the "Fan Boost" feature, an additional 100 kilowatts (130 hp) of power to use in the driver's second car. The three drivers who were allowed to use the boost were determined by a fan vote.[20] For the first Montreal race, di Grassi, Vergne and Buemi were handed the extra power.[35] When the race began at 16:00 Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-04:00),[36] di Grassi fended off an attack from Sarrazin to lead the field heading into the first corner.[37] Buemi drove conservatively resulting in him being delayed in a closely bunched pack of cars in the middle of the field. He sustained handling damage from contact with Frijns's front-left wheel in the second turn and fell to 16th place.[38][39][40] Evans and his teammate Carroll made fast getaways and moved into the fourth and eighth positions.[35] Prost struggled at the start and lost two positions to fall to sixth position after making contact with one of the Jaguar cars.[41] Heidfeld made the best start in the field, gaining four positions by the end of the first lap while Buemi lost four places over the same distance.[21]

At the end of the first lap, di Grassi led Sarrazin, Rosenqvist, Evans, Vergne, Prost, Carroll, Turvey, Duval, Dillmann, Heidfeld, Abt, Félix da Costa, Frijns, Engel, Buemi, López, d'Ambrosio, Bird and Piquet.[21] Di Grassi began to pull away from the rest of the field.[42] Sarrazin was put under pressure by Rosenqvist but defended his position from him. Attention then switched to Buemi who was beginning his move up the field.[41] He adopted the positioning of his left hand on his steering wheel against his bent steering arm.[39] Heidfeld and Abt were able to enter the top-ten places and both battled for position.[41] Abt passed Heidfeld for ninth place on the ninth lap.[41][43] After ten laps Buemi had passed four drivers to run in 12th place.[41] After Buemi had overtaken Duval for tenth position on the 14th lap,[41] Heidfeld attempted to overtake Duval on the outside line,[37] but Duval defended his position, leaving Heidfeld without any space on the dirty part of the track and the two made contact at turn six.[35][38] Duval resumed but Heidfeld's front-right suspension was bent and drove to the side of the track at turn 12 to retire.[38][41] Heidfeld's stricken car prompted the activation of the full course yellow procedure to enable marshals to remove it from the circuit and most drivers elected to make pit stops for the mandatory change into their second cars.[42][44]

Buemi and Abt were the first drivers to enter the pit lane in an attempt to undercut the field.[35] Buemi was close behind the rear of Abt's car and made minor contact with the slow-moving Abt, gesticulating angrily.[39][44] Buemi was released from his pit stall alongside Abt,[39] and passed him. Abt then applied his brakes to avoid hitting Buemi.[44] After Buemi appeared to reduce his speed at the pit lane exit, Abt drove into the rear of his car, prompting Buemi to complain furiously over the radio.[39] Rosenqvist's pit stop was two seconds longer than expected and fell behind Vergne. Having opted not to make a pit stop under full course yellow period which concluded on lap 17, Carroll moved into the top ten, and rejoined in 14th after making his pit stop.[43] Sarrazin later allowed Vergne through to take over second place.[42] Duval recorded the race's fastest lap on lap 19. He completed a circuit in one minute and 24.536 seconds, earning him one championship point.[21]

Lucas di Grassi (pictured in 2016) started from pole position and led every lap to win the first race.

Upfront, Vergne began reducing the time deficit to di Grassi.[35] Buemi overtook Turvey for seventh place on lap 21 and he passed Evans two laps later but could not establish a healthy advantage over Abt.[41] López lost control of his car's rear on lap 24,[39] and spun into the turn eight wall, necessitating the deployment of the safety car, and eliminating the time gaps in the field.[35][38][42] The safety car was withdrawn at the end of lap 29,[35] and racing resumed with di Grassi using his FanBoost to pull clear from Vergne who was being pressured by teammate Sarrazin.[41] Prost moved aside to allow teammate Buemi through for fifth place.[39] Abt aggressively overtook Prost soon after to move into sixth and continued his goal of drawing closer to Buemi.[41] On the 31st lap,[43] Rosenqvist, who was challenging for a podium position, made impact with the wall exiting the chicane,[38] damaging his left-rear suspension and bending the Mahindra's steering arm.[35][39] This enabled Buemi to take over fourth place as Rosenqvist fell down the order.[42][44]

Vergne drew close to di Grassi and was close behind him in the closing two laps.[41] He attempted a overtaking manoeuvre on di Grassi but the latter defended the lead.[35] Buemi closed up to Sarrazin on the final lap but he could not get past Sarrazin as he battled him in the complex comprising turns six and eight which included wheel-to-wheel contact.[38][39] Vergne continued to push di Grassi for the remainder of the race but he did not draw close enough to mount a serious attempt at passing, and di Grassi held the lead to secure his second victory of the season and the sixth of his career.[39] Vergne finished three-tenths of a second adrift in second with teammate Sarrazin taking third.[38] Buemi was fourth on the road, ahead of Abt in fifth and Bird who gained twelve positions over the course of the event to clinch sixth. Prost, Evans, Frijns, and the limping Rosenqvist rounded out the top ten.[39] Dillmann, d'Ambrosio, Engel, Piquet and Félix da Costa. Turvey and Carroll were the last of the classified finishers.[35] There were no lead changes during the course of the race as di Grassi led every lap contested.[21]

Post-race[edit]

The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and spoke to the media in a later press conference. Di Grassi was delighted with his victory, calling it "the best day in my Formula E career" and reserved praise for his team after they used much of their energy to understand their lack of competitiveness at the preceding New York City double header. He stated his belief that the secret was to remain calm and "exercise what the driver could do to motivate everybody that person is surrounded by for the season's remaining races," "Formula E can go from heaven to hell in one lap or one decision or one problem. Today we did the job. Tomorrow is a completely different day, a completely different environment. We're going to try to do the same as we did here."[45] Vergne spoke of his happiness over his team's growing strength and their double podium finish. He said he was hit from both sides at the race's start, causing him to lose positions, but spoke highly of his car, "I thought the car was just perfect and was able to push really hard. I was catching everyone in front, using less energy than them, so I think the strategy was really nice."[46] Third-place finisher Sarrazin stated that he was down on pace and became aware of Buemi closing on him by glancing at his rear-view mirrors. However, he was aware Buemi was challenging for the championship.[42]

Sébastien Buemi (pictured in 2016) confronted three drivers after the race and was later disqualified for an underweight car.

After the race, the pit lane atmosphere became turbulent when a visibly angered Buemi went to Félix da Costa and accused him of breaking his car's steering in the second turn. When Félix da Costa replied he had not made contact, Buemi walked to Frijns and engaged in a heated argument. Frijns argued his choices were either hitting Buemi's rear wing or driving around the outside of him. Buemi countered this by accusing Frijns of being supercilious and swore at him. Buemi then confronted Abt shortly after and accused the latter of hitting him deliberately. When Buemi walked away, he turned to Abt and branded him "dirty".[47] More than half an hour after the rant, Buemi called Audi Sport Abt "a dirty team" through the press and claimed they violated series regulations.[48] Frijns was perplexed by Buemi's confrontation as he expected to be thanked by him and spoke of his belief he avoided being caught up in a more serious incident, "I had actually already taken him before I turned in and I felt a small touch on the left rear but nothing much. Then five or six laps later he was behind me and I chose to let him go so I don't know what he is crying about."[49] Ten days after the ePrix, Buemi apologised to his team and both Andretti drivers on Twitter.[50]

Buemi, having risen from twelfth to finish fourth, was disqualified for infringing Article 5.1 of the Formula E technical regulations after technical stewards in post-race scrutineering determined that his second car was under the minimum weight limit of 880 kilograms (1,940 lb) and the team were reported to have added an additional 4 kilograms (8.8 lb) to compensate any weight variation in his vehicle. This was partly due to the insufficient amount of time to get the car weighed after its rebuilding following his heavy second practice accident.[51][52] The team elected not to appeal the penalty.[51] e.Dams-Renault team principal Jean-Paul Driot said he could not understand why the car's weight was not within the limit. He revealed the team attempted to file an appeal for a weighing of the battery but the large amount of difference in the component complicated the situation.[52]

The result meant di Grassi moved into the lead of the Drivers' Championship with 175 points. Buemi's disqualification meant he fell to second and was 18 points in arrears of his championship rival. Bird's fifth-place finish meant he took over third place with 110 points but was mathematically excluded from winning the championship. Rosenqvist's poor form resulted in him dropping from third to fourth and was also prevented from securing the title. Vergne and Prost were equal on points in the battle for fifth place.[3] e.Dams-Renault still led the Teams' Championship on 267 points but their advantage over Audi Sport ABT had been narrowed to 33 points. Mahindra remained in third position but Virgin moved further towards the team while Techeetah consolidated fifth with one race left in the season.[3] For the second event, Di Grassi only now required a fifth-place finish or better to secure the championship regardless of where Buemi finished.[53]

Standings after the race[edit]

  • Bold text indicates who still had a theoretical chance of becoming Champion.
  • Notes: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

Race two[edit]

Practice and qualifying[edit]

As was the case for the previous day, two practice sessions—both on Sunday morning—were held before the late afternoon race. The first session ran for 45 minutes and the second for 30 minutes.[20] Both practice sessions took place in dry and sunny weather conditions.[54] In the third practice session, di Grassi used the maximum amount of power available to him and recorded the fastest time of one minute and 21.442 seconds late in the session, almost four-tenths of a second faster than Prost in second and his teammate Buemi followed in third. Félix da Costa was fourth-fastest, ahead of Rosenqvist and López. Bird, Evans, d'Ambrosio and Vergne followed in the top ten.[55] Duval was investigated after colliding with Piquet's car heading into the first corner when he overtook him on the inside line.[56] Rosenqvist set the fastest lap time of the fourth practice session at one minute and 21.183 seconds; Buemi was second and López third. Bird was fourth-quickest; Duval placed fifth and Abt sixth. Turvey was seventh-fastest, Vergne eighth, di Grassi ninth and Prost completed the top ten ahead of qualifying.[57] Abt made minor contact with Prost in the first turn, damaging the latter's front wing,[58] and puncturing Abt's right-rear tyre.[59] The first yellow flag was prompted when Duval locked his tyres and slid into the chicane's run-off area, and a second was necessitated after Piquet locked his tyres, spun into the barrier at turn eleven, damaging his front wing. Evans narrowly avoided impacting the turn two barrier after locking his tyres driving into the corner.[58][59] After fourth practice ended, Rosenqvist's qualifying car suffered a battery problem, forcing him to use his second vehicle while his team rebuilt his first car's powertrain by disassembling its rear.[60]

Felix Rosenqvist (pictured in 2016) had the third pole position of his season.

Qualifying took place from early Sunday afternoon with four groups of five cars with the fastest five overall participants progressing into super pole.[20] It was held in dry and warm weather conditions.[54] In the first group of five cars, López set a benchmark lap time with Duval close behind in second.[61] On his maximum power lap, Buemi locked his tyres going into the first turn,[62] but despite going quicker in the second sector, could only muster a provisional third-place result.[63] Engel and Carroll were the first group's slowest drivers.[54] Rosenqvist set the pace in the second group and was followed by Vergne. Dillmann and d'Ambrosio took the next two placings with Evans the slowest competitor in the second group after heavily locking his tyres entering the first corner and had to regain control of his car to continue driving.[62][63] Piquet set the third group's quickest time, and Sarrazin placed second;[61] Sarrazin locked his brakes driving into turn one on his maximum power lap.[64] Félix da Costa ran deep heading into the first turn and dealt with excessive oversteer throughout his lap, restricting him to third.[63] Frijns, suffering similar problems to his teammate, followed in fourth, and Turvey was the third group's slowest competitor.[54][62]

Bird set the fastest overall lap time in the fourth group at one minute and 22.012 seconds, four-tenths of a second faster than the second-placed Heidfeld. Di Grassi set the third quickest lap with Abt and Prost the fourth group's two slowest participants.[54] At the end of group qualifying, the lap times set by Bird, Rosenqvist, Vergne, Heidfeld and di Grassi allowed them to advance to super pole.[63] Rosenqvist clinched his third pole position of the season with a time of one minute and 22.344 seconds.[65] He was joined on the grid's front row by Bird who was two-tenths of a second slower. Bird appeared to go fastest overall by improving in the first sector but drifted in turn seven and voiced his disappointment over the radio. Vergne gained most of his time in the first sector and was clean for the rest of his lap to secure third. Despite complaining about his state of his brakes, Heidfeld took fourth. Di Grassi locked his rear brakes entering the first turn and oversteered through the corner. He did not regain any time and started fifth.[62][63] After qualifying, Prost was demoted twenty places on the starting grid because he changed his battery and inverter following a car bay fire after the first race.[63][64] However, Prost did not take the full penalty, and started from the pit lane with ten seconds added to his race time.[66] After the penalty was applied, the rest of the field lined up as Abt, Dillmann, Piquet, Sarrazin, d'Ambrosio, López, Duval, Buemi, Félix da Costa, Frijns, Turvey, Evans, Engel, Carroll and Prost.[54]

Race[edit]

Weather conditions at the start of the event were dry and warm with an air temperature ranging from 27.05 to 27.75 °C (80.69 to 81.95 °F) and a track temperature between 30.55 and 31.10 °C (86.99 and 87.98 °F).[54] When the second race started at 16:00 local time,[36] Rosenqvist steered to the left side of the track to maintain his pole position ahead of the battling Bird and Vergne going into the first corner.[67] Di Grassi pressured Heidfeld but a sudden loss in speed fell him behind Dillmann.[68] Sarrazin made contact with Abt and Piquet in the first turn,[68] and spun, causing a small traffic jam in which all cars got through.[69] As the field concertinaed through the first corner, Félix da Costa went into the right-rear corner of Buemi's car,[68][69] causing Buemi's right rear wheel guard to detach and flail in the wind. Although the loose bodywork piece came off, Buemi was shown a black flag with an orange disc, requiring him to enter the pit lane to mend car damage.[70] López made the best getaway in the field, moving from eleventh to seventh by the end of the first lap, while Sarrazin's incident dropped him ten places over the same distance.[54] At the end of the first lap, Rosenqvist led Vergne, Bird, Heidfeld, Dillmann, di Grassi, López, Abt, d'Ambrosio, Duval, Buemi, Félix da Costa, Piquet, Turvey, Engel, Evans, Frijns, Carroll, Sarrazin and Prost.[54]

Buemi gained two positions before entering the pit lane,[71] and voiced his anger over the radio.[67] Because the loose bodywork part had fallen off, Buemi was stationary in his pit stall for only a few seconds and rejoined in 19th, ahead of teammate Prost. D'Ambrosio challenged Abt and he passed him to move into eighth but the latter regained the position after driving through the next few turns.[68] Heidfeld overtook Bird to take over the third position and Dillmann began to battle the latter.[69] At the front of the field, Rosenqvist and Vergne pulled clear from Bird and Heidfeld.[68] With both e.Dams drivers running at the rear of the pack, the team faced a predicament of pushing to secure the Teams' Championship or for Buemi to retake the Drivers' Championship.[67] After ten laps, Vergne mounted an attack on Rosenqvist for the lead as the latter had more electrical energy to use than the Mahindra car ahead of him but could not find any space to move in front.[69] Heidfeld and Bird backed themselves into Dillmann's path, prompting him to apply his brakes early and allowing López to challenge for the third position.[67] Heidfeld then slowed, enabling the Virgin duo of Bird and López to overtake him.[68]

Jean-Éric Vergne (pictured in 2016) took his first motor racing victory since competing in the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

The mandatory change for drivers to switch into their second cars began on lap 18 when Engel and Piquet entered the pit lane. Rosenqvist followed on the next lap with Vergne, López and the Audi Sport ABT duo of di Grassi and Abt opting to remain on track for another lap to allow the quartet to run in clean air.[67] Di Grassi's strategy of staying out for one extra lap did not work as his pit stop lasted two seconds slower than the agreed minimum pit stop time, and emerged in tenth place, behind his teammate Abt.[68] Piquet duelled with di Grassi and the latter retained tenth position. Abt then ceded ninth position to his teammate di Grassi. Prost led the field for one lap before making his pit stop.[67] After the pit stops, Rosenqvist retook the lead with a five-second advantage over Vergne.[71] The time gaps in the field had extended significantly and most drivers attempted to again close up to their rivals.[68] Both Audi Sport ABT drivers had been unable to make huge progress through the field, improving e.Dams-Renault's chances of retaining the Teams' Championship.[67] However di Grassi and teammate Abt overtook d'Ambrosio and drew closer to the battling Venturi cars of Engel and Dillmann. Di Grassi moved past Dillmann on lap 27 and Buemi used FanBoost to take 15th from Frijns.[68]

Di Grassi forced Engel into a driving error and he passed him for sixth.[68] Vergne had now drawn close to race leader Rosenqvist and took advantage of him lifting and coasting to overtake him easily for first heading towards turn three on the 29th lap.[67][71][72] Vergne's higher top speed enabled him to pull away quickly from Rosenqvist.[68] Prost entered the pit lane because his car had a mechanical problem.[73] However, he recorded the race's fastest lap beforehand, completing a circuit in one minute and 23.444 seconds on the previous lap for one championship point.[54] Bird lost third place to his teammate López after a closely contested battle that had both drivers make contact. Both Audi Sport ABT drivers continued to draw closer to Heidfeld.[68] With two laps remaining, Frijns tried to pass Duval but they made contact and Duval ended his race in the barrier. Yellow flags were waved in the area but the safety car was not deployed.[68][69] López caught Rosenqvist in the race's final laps but could not pass him.[69]

Vergne held the lead for the remainder of the race to take his maiden Formula E victory after eight podium finishes in the preceding three seasons.[73] It was Vergne's first motor racing victory since the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 Series round at Circuit Paul Ricard.[74] Rosenqvist took second, eight-tenths of a second behind with López completing the podium in third. Off the podium, Bird took fourth and Heidfeld fifth.[54] Abt moved into sixth on the final lap, and teammate di Grassi finished seventh to secure his first Drivers' Championship. Sarrazin came back through the field and took eighth.[71] D'Ambrosio and Dillmann rounded out the top ten. Buemi, Evans, Frijns, Carroll and Félix da Costa. Piquet, Turvey, Engel and Duval were the last of the classified finishers.[54] Di Grassi became the third champion in the history of Formula E and the second Brazilian after Piquet in the 2014–15 season.[75] There were four lead changes in the race; three drivers reached the front of the field. Rosenqvist's total of 25 laps led was the most of any competitor. Vergne led twice for a total of 11 laps.[54]

Post-race[edit]

The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and spoke to the media in a later press conference. Vergne was happy with his maiden victory, calling it "extremely satisfying" as he endured a difficult season and it would improve his team's confidence in the future, "There were mistakes as a team but nevertheless, to get second places, double podiums and then a win today is an amazing feeling."[76] He stated the win would put Techeetah's personnel in a positive state of mind and that they would return for the following the season as a stronger force in the series.[74] Rosenqvist revealed that Bird was his main rival over the race weekend and that his focus was to secure third place in the Drivers' Championship.[77] Nevertheless, he was delighted to finish in the top three driver's standings in his rookie season, "I think it speaks volumes about the kind of effort we have made as a team. Big, warm thanks to Mahindra Racing for putting their trust in me and for giving me the tools to achieve this."[78] Third-place finisher López spoke of his pleasure finishing there following his first race retirement, "I could tell straightaway what a difference the team had made to the car since my last race and it was frustrating our qualifying group meant we were unable to show this. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the race and of course the whole season, as well as working with the DS Virgin Racing team."[79]

Newly crowned champion di Grassi said of his title success, "This journey, this day started three years ago when we started season one, and then we got a lot of good results. I arrived in London fighting for the championship, even though I got disqualified from winning a race. Season two, the same situation, even got disqualified from winning a race. Finally I came here as an underdog, 10 points behind and had the nerves to keep calm, I did the job yesterday and today managed to win it also. I'm so happy for my team, so happy for the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport guys, they really deserve it."[80] He later claimed to have not given up hope in winning the championship despite a competitive field and retiring from the Paris ePrix, but also admitted that focusing on Formula E after Audi's withdrawal from the World Endurance Championship at the end of 2016 aided his title effort.[81] While Buemi admitted his disappointment in losing the championship, he congratulated di Grassi on securing the accolade,[80] and stated him missing the New York City races was not an excuse in his defeat.[77] Regarding his pit stop early in the race, Buemi chose not to judge if the stewards made the correct decision and admitted to not knowing about the regulation that required him to enter the pit lane should his car have become damaged.[82]

The result of the second ePrix meant di Grassi finished as the Drivers' Champion with 181 points. Buemi, in second place, was 24 points in arrears with Rosenqvist the best of the rookie drivers in third on 127 points. Bird took fourth, and Vergne's victory enabled him to secure fifth place.[3] e.Dams-Renault became the Teams' Champions for the third consecutive year on 268 points; Audi Sport ABT finished 20 points behind in second, and Mahindra were a further 33 points adrift in third position. Virgin consolidated fourth on 190 points and Techeetah rounded out the top five with 156 points.[3] 45,000 people attended the two-day event.[83] Despite insisting for that the race could not be held in another area of the city, Corderre later conceded that next year's running of the event was at risk of being relocated due to nearby construction.[19] This was not to be however as future editions of the ePrix were cancelled by new mayor Valérie Plante in December, citing rising costs to the tax payer.[84]

Standings after the race[edit]

  • Bold text indicates the Champions.
  • Notes: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

Classification[edit]

Qualifying one[edit]

Pos. No. Driver Team Time Gap Grid
1 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT 1:22.869 1
2 9 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi e.Dams-Renault 1:23.065 +0.196 121
3 33 France Stéphane Sarrazin Techeetah-Renault 1:23.179 +0.310 2
4 8 France Nico Prost e.Dams-Renault 1:23.330 +0.461 42
5 19 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra 1:24.351 +1.482 3
6 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah-Renault 1:23.398 5
7 20 New Zealand Mitch Evans Jaguar 1:23.532 +0.134 6
8 47 United Kingdom Adam Carroll Jaguar 1:23.869 +0.471 7
9 88 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey NextEV NIO 1:23.923 +0.525 8
10 4 France Tom Dillmann Venturi 1:23.931 +0.533 9
11 6 France Loïc Duval Dragon-Penske 1:23.999 +0.601 10
12 66 Germany Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT 1:24.302 +0.904 11
13 27 Netherlands Robin Frijns Andretti-BMW 1:24.622 +1.224 13
14 23 Germany Nick Heidfeld Mahindra 1:24.769 +1.271 14
15 28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Andretti-BMW 1:24.805 +1.307 15
16 37 Argentina José María López Virgin-Citröen 1:25.297 +1.799 16
17 5 Germany Maro Engel Venturi 1:25.369 +1.871 17
18 2 United Kingdom Sam Bird Virgin-Citröen 1:25.770 +2.273 18
19 3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr NextEV NIO 1:26.165 +2.668 19
20 7 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Dragon-Penske 1:36.580 +12.683 20
Source:[21]
Notes:

Qualifying two[edit]

Pos. No. Driver Team Time Gap Grid
1 19 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra 1:22.344 1
2 2 United Kingdom Sam Bird Virgin-Citröen 1:22.559 +0.215 2
3 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah-Renault 1:22.769 +0.425 3
4 23 Germany Nick Heidfeld Mahindra 1:23.041 +0.697 4
5 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT 1:23.557 +1.213 5
6 66 Germany Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT 1:22.694 6
7 7 France Nico Prost e.Dams-Renault 1:22.721 +0.027 203
8 4 France Tom Dillmann Venturi 1:22.822 +0.128 7
9 3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. NextEV NIO 1:22.972 +0.278 8
10 33 France Stéphane Sarrazin Techeetah-Renault 1:23.057 +0.363 9
11 7 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Dragon-Penske 1:23.058 +0.364 10
12 37 Argentina José María López Virgin-Citröen 1:23.313 +0.619 11
13 6 France Loïc Duval Dragon-Penske 1:23.337 +0.647 12
14 9 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi e.Dams-Renault 1:23.372 +0.682 13
15 28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Andretti-BMW 1:23.635 +0.951 14
16 27 Netherlands Robin Frijns Andretti-BMW 1:23.655 +0.971 15
17 88 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey NextEV NIO 1:23.709 +1.025 16
18 20 New Zealand Mitch Evans Jaguar 1:23.755 +1.071 17
19 5 Germany Maro Engel Venturi 1:23.811 +1.126 18
20 47 United Kingdom Adam Carroll Jaguar 1:24.024 +1.339 19
Source:[54]
Notes:
  • ^3  — Nico Prost was handed a twenty-place grid penalty for changing his inverter and battery.[63]

Race one[edit]

Pos. No. Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT 35 56:55.592 1 284
2 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah-Renault 35 +0.350 5 18
3 33 France Stéphane Sarrazin Techeetah-Renault 35 +7.869 2 15
4 66 Germany Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT 35 +8.592 11 12
5 2 United Kingdom Sam Bird Virgin-Citröen 35 +8.913 18 10
6 8 France Nico Prost e.Dams-Renault 35 +10.058 4 8
7 20 New Zealand Mitch Evans Jaguar 35 +10.457 6 6
8 27 Netherlands Robin Frijns Andretti-BMW 35 +15.836 13 4
9 19 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra 35 +16.764 3 2
10 4 France Tom Dillmann Venturi 35 +19.320 9 1
11 7 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Dragon-Penske 35 +20.229 20
12 5 Germany Maro Engel Venturi 35 +22.314 17
13 3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. NextEV NIO 35 +23.145 19
14 28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Andretti-BMW 35 +34.786 15
15 88 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey NextEV NIO 35 +46.996 8
16 47 United Kingdom Adam Carroll Jaguar 35 +49.612 7
Ret 6 France Loïc Duval Dragon-Penske 26 Electrical 10 15
Ret 37 Argentina José María López Virgin-Citröen 23 Accident 16
Ret 23 Germany Nick Heidfeld Mahindra 23 Suspension 14
DSQ 9 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi e.Dams-Renault 35 Underweight6 12
Source:[21]
Notes:
  • ^4  — Three points for pole position.[20]
  • ^5  — One point for fastest lap.[20]
  • ^6  — Sébastien Buemi was disqualified because his second car was underweight.[51]

Race two[edit]

Pos. No. Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah-Renault 37 54:12.606 3 25
2 19 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra 37 +0.896 1 217
3 37 Argentina José María López Virgin-Citröen 37 +4.468 11 15
4 2 United Kingdom Sam Bird Virgin-Citröen 37 +7.114 2 12
5 23 Germany Nick Heidfeld Mahindra 37 +21.933 4 10
6 66 Germany Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT 37 +24.444 6 8
7 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT 37 +24.855 5 6
8 33 France Stéphane Sarrazin Techeetah-Renault 37 +26.038 9 4
9 7 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Dragon-Penske 37 +28.282 10 2
10 4 France Tom Dillmann Venturi 37 +28.591 7 1
11 9 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi e.Dams-Renault 37 +35.170 13
12 20 New Zealand Mitch Evans Jaguar 37 +36.548 17
13 27 Netherlands Robin Frijns Andretti-BMW 37 +36.826 15
14 47 United Kingdom Adam Carroll Jaguar 37 +36.972 19
15 28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Andretti-BMW 37 +39.720 14
16 3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. NextEV NIO 37 +46.751 8
17 88 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey NextEV NIO 37 +49.116 16
18 5 Germany Maro Engel Venturi 37 +1:33.530 18
19 6 France Loïc Duval Dragon-Penske 34 Accident 12
Ret 8 France Nico Prost e.Dams-Renault 32 Did not finish 20 189
Source:[54]
Notes:
  • ^7  — Three points for pole position.[20]
  • ^8  — One point for fastest lap.[20]
  • ^9  — Nico Prost had ten seconds added to his race time.[66]

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2017 New York City ePrix
FIA Formula E Championship
2016–17 season
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2017 Hong Kong ePrix
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