Lucas di Grassi took his first win of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship season with a decisive victory in Sunday evening’s inaugural Zurich E-Prix.
The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver came from fifth on the grid to grab the lead in the first phase of the race before pulling away and taking the checkered flag by a comfortable 7.542 seconds.
High drama unfolded behind the Season Three champion as the fights for the remaining podium positions were shaken up by first a Full Course Yellow and then multiple penalties for Sebastien Buemi, Jose Maria Lopez, Mitch Evans and Jean-Eric Vergne.
This drama ensured that Sam Bird claimed second position and slashed Vergne’s points lead from 40 to 23 with just two races remaining on the schedule.
Third position was taken by Jerome d’Ambrosio’s Dragon entry after the Belgian also capitalized on the penalties given to his rivals.
Pole sitter Mitch Evans opened an immediate cushion in the early running but was soon reeled in by Andre Lotterer’s Techeetah car and the chasing pack.
Lotterer though some came under pressure from Lucas di Grassi who cleared d’Ambrosio and Sam Bird to claim third place.
The Brazilian made a clean pass on his former Audi LMP1 stablemate and set after Evans ahead of the mandatory pit stops and made another clean pass heading in to Turn 1 to snatch the lead.
From there di Grassi effectively checked out and controlled and extended his lead all the way to the checkered flag and his first win since Montreal in July.
Points leader Vergne made progress in the first phase of the race from his lowly 17th start position and by lap 8 was in the points.
The Techeetah driver then cleared Nicolas Prost before then diving down the inside of Felix Rosenqvist’s Mahindra.
This time Rosenqvist resisted and the subsequent contacted pitched him in to the Turn 1 barriers Vergne then ironically hit Rosenqvist’s detached front wing two laps later which triggered a Full Course Yellow.
When Vergne lost time and positions at his pit stops when his second car would not start, his earlier good was undone and he dropped back to ninth position.
From there the Frenchman set several fastest laps and was able to re-take Prost before homing in on the Dragon Racing pair of d’Ambrosio and Lopez.
His progress was halted though when he, along with Buemi, Lopez and Evans was given a drive-through penalty for speeding under the Full Course Yellow.
This dropped Vergne back down the field again but once more he came back and snatched tenth position.
Lotterer set fastest lap on his way to fourth position while behind him Sebastien Buemi finished his home race in fifth after taking Mitch Evans in the closing stages after taking his penalty.
Evans fell back behind Nick Heidfeld to seventh, while Antonio Felix da Costa placed eighth for Andretti.
Oliver Turvey headed off the frustrated Vergne to take ninth position but only by 0.6 seconds.
Daniel Abt and Nelson Piquet Jr. saw their races compromised after a first lap incident at the chicane when Piquet mounted the back of the Audi after Abt appeared run too deep in to the tight corner.
Both were given the black and orange flag, Abt for a lost rear wing and Piquet’s Jaguar for front-wing damage.
RESULTS: Zurich E-Prix