Di Grassi beats Vergne to win Paris ePrix

©Formula E

Lucas di Grassi extended his Formula E championship lead to 11 points with a dominant victory in the Paris ePrix.

The Brazilian started from second on the grid but beat pole-sitter Sam Bird off the line in to Turn 1 and controlled the race from that point. Jean-Eric Vergne was also able to beat Bird at the start after slight contact between the DS team-mates through the opening few corners.

Bird's race was heavily compromised as a result as he spent the whole first stint boxed up behind Vergne, attempting a move on the final lap before the pit stops but again the pair made light contact as the Frenchman held on.

The battle between the two DS cars had allowed the two Renault's of Nicolas Prost and Sebastien Buemi to close in, and Buemi overtook his team-mate before the pit stops to change cars. Despite a tight pit lane in Paris, all four emerged exactly in the order they had pit, with Vergne leading them back out on track over six seconds behind di Grassi.

In the next few laps, the DS cars were able to make use of their strength in warming their tyres more quickly to pull away from the two Renault cars and cut di Grassi’s lead down to four seconds. However, Bird was unable to find a way past Vergne and Buemi started to close in with ten laps remaining.

From thinking about second place for much of the race, Bird had to go defensive and eventually outbraked himself in to Turn 1 as Buemi attacked, with Bird running down the escape road and impressively spinning the car to recover. However, the error had dropped him back to sixth place behind Buemi, Prost and Stephane Sarrazin.

Di Grassi had stabilised his lead at just under five seconds but saw it completely wiped out with five laps remaining when Ma Qing Hua hit the wall on the outside of Turn 14. The Aguri car was heavily damaged and the safety car was deployed, but marshals were unable to clear the wreckage before the end of the race as the race finished in slightly anti-climatic fashion.

Vergne will have been left rueing the lack of a restart as he still had a Fanboost remaining to try and attack di Grassi, but in truth the ABT Schaeffler Audi driver did not deserve to have the victory threatened by any late charge.

With Bird dropping to sixth he rejoined ahead of Robin Frijns - who pulled strong moves on both Antonio Felix da Costa and Oliver Turvey in the first half of the race - while da Costa, Bruno Senna and Daniel Abt rounded out the top ten.

Buemi lost out on two points late on as Nick Heidfeld took the fastest lap off him, leaving him 11 points adrift of di Grassi with four races remaining, while Bird is now 44 points off the championship lead after his error.

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