Fresh from sealing the FIA World Endurance Championship title with Anthony Davidson in November, Sébastien Buemi concluded a stellar season by winning a frantic third round of the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship on the streets of Punta del Este, Uruguay.
The DAMS driver inherited the lead after the mandatory ‘car-swap’ pitstop, when Nick Heidfeld was adjudged to have made too quick a stop. Buemi then resisted a late-race charge by series debutant and pole sitter Jean-Eric Vergne, who put in a fine performance in his Andretti-run Spark-Renault.
Vergne had lost the lead at the start to Nelson Piquet Jr, but soon muscled his way through after the first of four safety car periods. But after Vergne lost out to Buemi during the car swap, he soon reined in the Swiss ace. After the final safety car was deployed for Matthew Brabham’s crashed Andretti car to be recovered, a grandstand finish looked to be on the cards.
With just three laps remaining, however, Vergne pulled off the track when a right front wishbone gave way and Buemi was able to cruise to the chequered flag ahead of Piquet and points leader Lucas di Grassi.
Sam Bird, winner of the second round in Malaysia, suffered a weekend to forget after crashing in both qualifying and the race. Jarno Trulli enjoyed his most competitive showing to date by finishing in fourth.
The FIA Formula E Championship stays in South America for its next round, in Buenos Aires on January 10. Sam Smith