Formula E: Jean--ric Vergne extends lead after controversial weekend

Formula E championship leader Jean--ric Vergne extended his lead at the top of the driver standings with a sublime pe...

Posted: Mar 18, 2018 7:16 PM
Updated: Mar 18, 2018 7:16 PM

Formula E championship leader Jean--ric Vergne extended his lead at the top of the driver standings with a sublime performance in Uruguay.

It was Lucas di Grassi, with only three points to his name so far this season, who pushed the Frenchman all the way to the line in an enthralling battle enjoyed by a capacity crowd.

Jean--ric Vergne wins controversial ePrix

Lucas di Grassi demoted from pole position

The race got off to a messy start, as power issues for Nick Heidfeld left the Mahindra diver's car stricken at the side of the track.

The safety car was immediately deployed, though it seemed several drivers didn't get the memo as many continued to overtake as the cars began to bunch up on the track.

Though it was in keeping with the controversial theme which ran through qualifying in the Uruguayan coastal city.

Overall points leader Vergne was promoted to pole position after initial pacesetter Di Grassi was stripped of his lap time.

READ: Can motorsport still be exciting without human drivers?

READ: Behold the race car of the future

Di Grassi, along with DS Virgin Racing's Alex Lynn NIO driver Oliver Turvey, were each demoted a place after a lengthy investigation deemed the trio had hit a bollard on turn 15.

However, the disappointment of losing his first pole of the season appeared to fire Di Grassi up and it set up a thrilling battle between the pair as temperatures on the track peaked at 30 degrees.

But despite plenty of huffing and puffing from from the Brazilian driver, Vergne put in a masterclass of defensive driving to slam the door shut every time Di Grassi sniffed an opportunity to pass.

It's fair to say, however, that reigning world champion Di Grassi disagreed with the officials' decision to strip him of pole.

"I'm not really happy, they took away my pole position very unfairly," he told Channel 5 after the race. "And then on this track it is impossible to overtake.

"We had the fastest car but really it was going to be a crash or we stay as we are (first and second). Congratulations to Jean, he drove well.

"Today we had the fastest car for pole and to win but we came second."

The South American leg of the Formula E season has certainly been kind to Vergne, as he scooped his second first place finish on the continent after topping the podium in Santiago, Chile.

Despite the soaring temperatures on the Uruguayan coast, the Frenchman remained cool to also extend Techeetah's lead at the top of the team standings.

His victory, then, must be all the sweeter having fended off the challenge of Di Grassi, the man he calls "the best Formula E driver."

"Dealing with pressure is part of my life every day," he said matter-of-factly. "I'm glad the team is working so hard, sometimes it's not easy, sometimes I push them too hard, but they can see hard work pays off.

"It will make everyone in the team hungrier for success."

DS Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird completed the podium in third, though he appeared out of nowhere on the final two laps and looked for a fleeting moment like he might challenge the two race leaders who, it seemed, has become so engrossed in their own battle they had forgotten about the potential threat behind them.

However, it wasn't to be for the Brit but he will certainly take consolation from the fact he moved up seven places in the race to cement third place in the standings.

"Some good moves, staying clean, a great pit stop by the guys," Bird responded when asked how he caught the two leaders.

"I was able to get my head down and put in some laps and I could see the time coming down slowly.

"As I was catching, I was gaining energy as they were fighting, but I just didn't have the legs for the last couple of laps. Third from starting 10th is a good race."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35712

Reported Deaths: 2207
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10037594
Lake3806202
Allen174371
Cass15927
Elkhart143529
St. Joseph132035
Hamilton118094
Hendricks118074
Johnson1120110
Madison59761
Porter55329
Clark52841
Bartholomew52238
Howard43734
LaPorte43624
Tippecanoe4214
Shelby39822
Jackson3942
Delaware38740
Hancock34928
Floyd32140
Boone31835
Vanderburgh2902
Morgan28324
Noble25121
Montgomery24417
Clinton2401
White2389
Decatur23031
Grant22123
Dubois2053
Harrison19622
Henry18412
Vigo1758
Greene17125
Dearborn17021
Monroe17012
Warrick16728
Kosciusko1661
Lawrence16524
Marshall1472
Miami1411
Putnam1377
Orange13122
Jennings1314
Scott1223
Franklin1158
Ripley1086
LaGrange1022
Daviess9516
Carroll933
Steuben872
Wayne865
Wabash802
Fayette797
Newton7810
Jasper701
Jay530
Clay522
Washington511
Rush503
Randolph503
Fulton501
Pulaski490
Jefferson471
Whitley443
DeKalb431
Starke393
Sullivan371
Owen341
Perry340
Huntington342
Brown331
Benton320
Wells320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford240
Fountain222
Switzerland210
Spencer211
Adams201
Gibson182
Parke180
Posey160
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin120
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0175

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36792

Reported Deaths: 2300
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin6112290
Cuyahoga4669247
Hamilton2739164
Marion267931
Lucas2296256
Pickaway209537
Summit1487181
Mahoning1463188
Butler93333
Columbiana88952
Stark75299
Lorain70960
Montgomery69516
Trumbull58451
Belmont43914
Warren39021
Medina36623
Miami36230
Tuscarawas3604
Ashtabula34537
Delaware34414
Portage33257
Lake31812
Fairfield3108
Clark3067
Wood30348
Geauga29533
Wayne28851
Licking26510
Mercer2207
Clermont2165
Allen21433
Richland2093
Darke18423
Erie18216
Madison1627
Washington11819
Crawford1174
Morrow1071
Ottawa10217
Greene1025
Putnam9514
Sandusky8512
Monroe7914
Auglaize763
Ross732
Hocking705
Jefferson672
Hardin640
Huron601
Williams561
Union551
Muskingum521
Hancock511
Shelby463
Holmes463
Clinton451
Fulton450
Wyandot442
Coshocton400
Logan400
Fayette400
Preble391
Guernsey362
Defiance342
Carroll313
Brown301
Lawrence300
Champaign281
Highland261
Knox251
Seneca242
Vinton212
Ashland210
Perry191
Athens181
Henry170
Scioto170
Paulding140
Jackson140
Adams101
Harrison100
Pike90
Gallia81
Van Wert70
Noble60
Meigs60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 79°
Huntington
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Few Storms Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events