Formula E: Nico Prost holds off Scott Speed for first ePrix win in Miami
The 2014/2015 Formula E season got back under-way after a month break with the ePrix of Miami; the first of two rounds on the United States. Nicolas Prost grabbed his first win of the year after starting from second place. It wasn’t as simple as it sounds for the son of 4 time Formula One champion Alain, as he was hounded by Scott Speed, who made his Formula E début for Andretti Autosport. Daniel Abt finally secured his first legitimate podium for Audi Sport ABT after having previously finished 3rd in Beijing before being penalised.
2014 Toro Rosso Formula One driver Jean-Eric Vergne led the field from the grid after qualifying on pole position for the 2nd time in 3 races. He nearly didn’t make it past turn 1 however, after Nicolas Prost went deeper into the turn and briefly tagged the rear of Vergne’s Andretti Autosport car. Soon it was Sam Bird challenging Vergne after the British driver dispatched Prost early on.
Vergne would hold the lead up until the pit-stops, with Bird pulling off a brilliant move up the inside just before the Frenchman ducked into the pit-lane. Bird elected to stay out one lap longer, but this proved to be a mistake as he had to slow his Virgin Racing car to a crawl after running low on battery life. Vergne wouldn’t retake the lead however, as a slow pit-stop cost him track position to the two Audi Sport ABT cars and Nicolas Prost.
Daniel Abt then held the lead for the majority of the second half of the race, before a late race battle for the lead commenced between himself, Prost, Di Grassi and Speed; who had worked his way through the field with a series of excellent overtakes.
Scott Speed seemed to have the… speed… but was unfortunately unable to capitalise due to the narrow nature of the Miami street circuit. He sat right on the gearbox of Abt and Prost ahead of him, with Prost pulling off a scintillating pass on Abt with just a handful of laps remaining. Speed followed him through and closed up to Prost on the final lap, but was unable to take the win away from Nicolas. Abt held on to 3rd despite running low on battery whilst being closed by Jerome D’Ambrosio; who had a quiet race to take his best finish of 4th.
Nelson Piquet Jnr will rue the Miami event as a race that could have been his. The Brazilian had qualified in second place by just half a tenth of a second but was given a 5 place grid penalty after speeding under yellow flags in the last round in Buenos Aires. He moved up from 7th to take 5th, with the point for the fastest lap going to him in the process. He finished just ahead of the winner last time out, Antonio Felix da Costa.
Former winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Loic Duval, made his Formula E début for Dragon Racing this weekend. He may have qualified in a disappointing last place, but he made his way through the order after some daring moves to take a solid P7. He finished ahead of Sam Bird who could have been in the fight for the win had he not left his pit-stop too late.
Lucas di Grassi had a slightly disappointing race after finishing in 9th place. The result means that he has lost the lead of the championship that he has held since the opening round in Beijing, with Nicolas Prost displacing him after his maiden win. Mexican FanBoost winner Salvador Duran took the final position in the top 10 for Amlin Aguri.
Having led the race for half its duration, Vergne would sadly fall back to 18th place after stopping on track with 2 laps remaining. Ironically it may have been his stricken car that prevented team-mate Speed from performing a last lap lunge on leader Prost due to the waved yellow flags.
Two drivers failed to finish the race. Sarrazin succumbed to gearbox issues on his Venturi car which relegated him to retirement. Bruno Senna’s awful luck in Formula E continued after a suspension issue forced his retirement.
2015 Miami ePrix results:
|3||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT||15||4th|
|5||Nelson Piquet Jnr. (FL)||China||11||7th|
|6||Antonio Felix da Costa||Amlin Aguri||8||16th|
|9||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT||2||6th|
|10||Salvador Duran (FB)||Amlin Aguri||1||12th|
|18||Jean-Eric Vergne (P) (FB)||Andretti||3||1st|
|20||Bruno Senna (FB)||Mahinda||0||15th|