Buemi fends off di Grassi for hard-fought Monaco ePrix win

©Renault e.DAMS

Sébastien Buemi won the FIA Formula E Monaco ePrix for the second time, despite intense pressure from Lucas di Grassi. It's his fourth win in the last five races, putting him into a strong position in the title battle.

Buemi led from start to finish having earlier claimed pole position with a clean superpole lap. The Renault e.dams driver's chief rival for the championship Lucas di Grassi started alongside him on the front row for ABT Schaeffler. Both men were also recipients of the day's Fan Boost.

Buemi maintained the lead off the line going into the first corner. The sharp right-hander at Sainte Devote diverted the cars from the traditional Formula 1 circuit, going directly to the swimming pool complex instead of up Beau Rivage.

The predictable log jam at the first corner caused some collision damage behind the leaders. That included DS-Virgin's Jose Maria Lopez, who was duly shown the black-and-orange flag. That forced him to pit for repairs and he eventually retired on lap 43. It was the Argentinian's first race back after injuring two vertebrae in a FIA WEC race at Silverstone last month.

Nelson Piquet Jr hit the outside wall at the final corner of lap 1. Fortunately the NextEV NIO car proved robust and he was able to continue in third place. Mahindra's Nick Heidfeld made up three paces at the start, slotting him into fifth place behind Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne.

Sam Bird had also gained multiple positions at the start, but lost the back end of his DS-Virgin car going into Tabac on lap 7 and clouted the wall, deranging the suspension. That put him several laps down, and he eventually retired after 36 laps having used his power to successfully set the fastest lap of the race and claim a bonus championship point.

Buemi and di Grassi raced away at the front Meanwhile an impatient Vergne attempted to take third from Piquet around the outside of turn 3 on lap 21. Instead, Vergne ended up in the barrier while Heidfeld seized the opportunity to pass Piquet. Vergne's wrecked car triggered a safety car that closed up the field. Drivers used the opportunity to change to their second cars slightly earlier than planned.

When the race restarted, Buemi and di Grassi resumed in the lead ahead of Heidfeld. Piquet maintained fourth ahead of Venturi's Maro Engel and Mahindra's Felix Rosenqvist. Buemi used his Fan Boost to pull away at the front, while di Grassi bided his time and kept within striking distance.

Di Grassi started inching closer to the race leader. On the final lap he threw everything into trying to find a way past. However, Buemi remained implacable and covered off all the openings, finally crossing the line three tenths ahead of di Grassi.

The victory restores a lot of the lead in the championship standings that Buemi haemorrhaged last time out in Mexico City. The Swiss driver's advantage over di Grassi is now back up to 15 points. Renault e.dams's Nicholas Prost is still in third despite only managing ninth place in Monaco. Vergne and Bird stay in fifth and sixth even though they finished out of the points.

The next race on the FIA Formula E championship calendar is the Paris ePrix on May 20.

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