Sebastien Buemi takes the Formula E Opener, Mahindra’s Hiedfeld finishes on podium

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Formula E 2015 in Beijing

Formula E 2015 in Beijing

Sebastien Buemi has taken the Formula E Beijing round by dominating the season opener start to finish. Mahindra Racing’s Nick Heidfeld managed to score the first Formula E podium for the team, while Stéphane Sarrazin, Bruno Senna, Loïc Duval, Sam Bird and Jérôme D’Ambrosio rounded out the top 10

After nearly claiming the championship last year, Sebastien Buemi took a dominant victory in the opening round of the 2015/16 Formula E season. The e.dams Renault man led from pole position and was never headed as he cruised to victory by a wide margin of 11.006 seconds – a strong start for Buemi on his road to redemption. Inaugural race winner from the previous season Lucas di Grassi rose from fourth to claim the runner-up position by 4.7 seconds over third-place Nick Heidfeld after passing the Englishman in the pit area. The Audi Sport Abt driver had just set his fastest time when the session was red flagged due to Simona De Silvestro of Andretti Formula E team crashed.

Nick Heidfeld on the podium

Nick Heidfeld on the podium

Nick Heidfeld scored Mahindra Racing’s first ever Formula E podium, finishing third in a tight battle on the streets of Beijing. Mahindra’s new M2Electro Formula E car made a power packed start to the ePrix season with Nick Heidfeld qualifying and finishing at P3. Heidfeld’s battle for third with Dragon Racing drivers Loïc Duval and Jérôme D’Ambrosio provided immense entertainment in the closing stages of the event. The three drivers crossed the line within .8 seconds of each other, each with nearly-depleted machines after tossing energy conservation into the wind. Heidfeld ultimately seized the third to give Mahindra their first Formula E podium, with Duval and D’Ambrosio rounding out the top five. Mahindra’s second man, Bruno Senna struggled to recover from a poor pit stop and finished in 13th place.

The five drivers who had not pitted were Loic Duval, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Oliver Turvey, Nathanael Berthon and Nelson Piquet Jr., who all benefited from the timing of the Full Course Yellow.

It was celebrations for Team Mahindra. Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal of Mahindra Racing Formula E Team said: “I don’t quite have the words to describe what the first podium means to the team and to Mahindra. The performance of both cars in qualifying and Nick’s final result (the fastest team behind Renault) shows that the approach we took to developing the M2Electro power train was the right one. “

Lucas Di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi and Nick Heidfeld on the podium

Lucas Di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi and Nick Heidfeld on the podium

Winner Sebastian Buemi celebrating with 2nd runner up Nick Heidfeld

Winner Sebastian Buemi celebrating with 2nd runner up Nick Heidfeld

He added that the car had been reliable and consistent since testing and they knew they had a package that could compete in both qualifying and race trim. “We must build on this success in the next race. We could potentially have finished even higher. We have a great car and now we need to aim for consistent race performance”, he said while congratulating his team for their efforts.

Nick Heidfeld of Team Mahindra said: “I want to thank the team for providing me with a car that can achieve a result like this. I can be a demanding driver and as a team we pushed hard to get this result. We will build on this achievement, refine the car and I believe the M2Electro can continue to race at the front of the grid.”

Nick had to work hard to defend on the final laps as other cars were pressurizing him from behind. The clever race strategy utilized by Team Mahindra assured him with enough energy to keep other racers behind him right to the chequered flag.

Brazilian racer and Mahindra’s Bruno Senna said “It was a mixed day for me. In practice and qualifying, the car felt good and I felt I could have pushed further and further forward in the race. Ultimately it was the pit stop that put me outside the points”

Sebastien Buemi celebrates his win.

Sebastien Buemi celebrates his win.

Sebastien ‘Lightning’ Buemi said “It’s a great feeling to win the first race of the season and be awarded all of the available points – I’ve never had that before! Everything was perfect; the new powertrain from Renault, the battery, the team. To be honest, in the race, I had a bad start but managed to hold on to my position and bring the car home for the win. After such a strong start and good haul of points I’m really looking forward to Malaysia.” Swiss-born Champion enjoyed a practically perfect race by claiming fastest lap en route to his and the team’s first victory of the new season.

Formula E will be back in action in two weeks’ time in Malaysia for the Putrajaya ePrix.

Race results:

1. Sebastien Buemi – Renault e.dams
2. Lucas di Grassi – ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
3. Nick Heidfeld – Mahindra
4. Loic Duval – Dragon Racing
5. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Dragon Racing
6. Oliver Turvey – NEXTEV TCR
7. Sam Bird – DS Virgin Racing
8. Nathanael Berthon – Team Aguri
9. Daniel Abt – ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
10. Stephane Sarrazin – Venturi
11. Robin Frijns – Andretti
12. Jean-Eric Vergne – DS Virgin Racing
13. Bruno Senna – Mahindra
14. Jacques Villeneuve – Venturi (+1 lap)
15. Nelson Piquet Jr. – NEXTEV TCR (+2 laps)
16. Nicolas Prost – Renault e.dams (DNF)
17. Antonio Felix da Costa – Team Aguri (DNF)
18. Simona de Silvestro – Andretti (DNF)

eprix(MTRDS) (8)
eprix(MTRDS) (7)
eprix(MTRDS) (6)
eprix(MTRDS) (5)
eprix(MTRDS) (4)
eprix(MTRDS) (2)
Formula E Championship race in Beijing

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