Di Grassi wins, Buemi falters at Long Beach


Lucas di Grassi took the Formula E championship lead with victory in the Long Beach ePrix as Sebastien Buemi failed to score.

The Brazilian bounced back from his disqualification after originally finishing first in Mexico in the perfect fashion, starting from second place and overtaking pole-sitter Sam Bird in the opening half of the race before easing to an ultimately comfortable victory.

There was some fortune to the result, with di Grassi having originally been third on the grid. However, Antonio Felix da Costa was disqualified from qualifying after his tyre pressures were found to be too low, promoting Bird and di Grassi to the front row.

Bird led away off the line while di Grassi put the pressure on in the opening laps. Much of the attention was on Buemi as the eDams driver tried to climb through from seventh on the grid and pulled an impressive move on Daniel Abt at the hairpin to take fifth place on lap 8.

However, Buemi's charge was soon halted as the man who led the championship heading into the race made an error at the same corner a few laps later. Following Robin Frijns, Buemi misjudged his breaking point for the hairpin and mounted the rear of Frijns' car, causing damage to both drivers and forcing himself in to a pit stop which saw him have to complete 25 laps in his second car and fail to score.

On the same lap, di Grassi put a clean move on Bird for the lead and his task was made easier after the pit stops when Bird when straight on and hit the wall at Turn 5. Bird was able to continue but was down in seventh place and no longer a threat for victory.

With di Grassi holding a big lead over Stephane Sarrazin, Abt and the Mahindra drivers of Nick Heidfeld and Bruno Senna - both having run long before the pit stops - the race was brought back to life in the closing laps by a safety car period. Nelson Piquet hit the wall at Turn 2 and the safety car had to be deployed while the NEXTEV car was removed.

The restart didn't see a huge amount of action having allowed drivers to conserve energy, with di Grassi holding on for victory ahead of Sarrazin and team-mate Abt. Bird eventually crossed the line sixth behind Senna but will have been left rueing what might have been.

There were no such thoughts for di Grassi, however, as his victory couple with Buemi setting the fastest lap saw the Brazilian take the championship lead by just one point.

REPORT: Hamilton pips Rosberg to Bahrain pole by 0.077s

AS IT HAPPENED: Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

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