The 2016 Formula E championship is currently one of the weirdest finale in motor racing history as Sebastien Buemi emerged champion by becoming the fastest lap holder in the London ePrix last Sunday.
It was a double header last weekend where two races were contested at the street track of Battersea Park. Until the finale, two drivers and arch rivals, Renault e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi and Abt Audi Sport’s Lucas di Grassi tied with at the top of the championship standings. Buemi took pole position while di Grassi started third on the grid, so basically whoever’s ahead by the end of the race wins the title.
When the red lights went off, di Grassi went aggressive by overtaking second place Nicholas Prost, who is also Buemi’s teammate. At turn 3, the unthinkable happened when di Grassi did not stop in time, and subsequently collided with Buemi into the barrier. The carnage took out Buemi’s rear wing, while di Grassi’s front wing is basically destroyed.
Judge for yourself if di Grassi deliberately crashed into his rival, just as Senna did to Prost in the 1990 F1 finale in Suzuka.
Formula E requires using two cars to complete the race distance, hence finishing the race is not realistic for both drivers. Thus, both rivals began Plan B by limping back to the pits and began preparations in their second car.
The plan is to secure the fastest lap where two points are up for grabs. The blue and yellow e.dams car is the fastest car in the series but di Grassi is consistently quick. If either driver scores the fastest lap in this 2.925 km street circuit, he will then be crowned the 2016 Formula E champion. But if someone else other than that duo laps quicker, di Grassi will be handed the title (because he scored more third-place finishes than Buemi).
Di Grassi went out first and clocked 1:27.037 seconds but the e.Dams car proved to be more superior when Buemi set a 1:26.056 second lap before improving to 1:24.582 seconds. Di Grassi retaliated but couldn’t go any quicker than 1:24.9 seconds on his final lap. The title was sealed by Buemi when he clocked the lap in 1:24.150 seconds, effectively making him the quickest driver of the race.
The race was won by Prost who also won the preceding race. His victory also sealed Renault e.dams’ manufacturer title as well, making them the biggest victors of the Formula E 2015/2016 season.
The following Formula E season will kick off in Hong Kong sometime in October, with Jaguar joining the lineup as a new manufacturer. Following the incident, expect bitter rivalry between these two drivers.
Meanwhile, do watch the race highlights below.
Results and standing are as follows:
[Source: FIA Formula E]