Sebastien Buemi managed to nab Nissan’s first Formula E victory of the year in the penultimate race of the 2018/19 season, Saturday’s first of a double-header weekend on the streets of Brooklyn. Despite heavy pressure from Alex Lynn’s Jaguar for the first section of the race, and Alexander Sims’ BMW for the latter half. Buemi is the series’ ninth race winner from 12 races.
The win promotes Buemi to second in the points championship behind current points leader Jean Eric Vergne. Vergne had the best place in the championship going into this race, and could have scored just a handful of points to clinch the championship.
Early in the race the two Dragon Racing cars came together at the hairpin, causing a spin and bunching up the latter half of the field. As the two DS Techeetah teammates closed on the gaggle of stopped cars, Andre Lotterer stuffed his car right up the back of teammate Vergne breaking both cars bodywork and necessitating a costly pit stop.
Vergne fought all race long and managed to slip his way up into 9th overall, grabbing the fastest lap of the race as well, which would have been enough to clinch his championship. Then, on the final lap of the race disaster struck. JEV made an aggro move to pass Felipe Massa, and the Brazilian just drove him into the wall. This dumped Vergne back out of the points to finishing in 14th with no points.
As it stands, Vergne’s situation is slightly more dire in Sunday’s season ender than he would have expected. In the final race of the season, set for Sunday afternoon, Formula E still has a handful of racers in the hunt. For example, if today’s winner Buemi managed to repeat the victory on Sunday, and Vergne again scored no points, he would still be mathematically eligible to win the championship.
I have to say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this was among the most exciting races I’ve seen this season. The title fight, the inter-team battles, the beating and banging, it was just intense on all counts.
This is more the kind of racing I’d expect from touring cars than open wheelers. Can’t wait to see the finish of the season as it all plays out tomorrow.