Lucas di Grassi took home a win at the first ever Paris ePrix, in what was a dominant race for the Brazilian driver.
After passing Sam Bird going into Turn 1 on the first lap, Di Grassi wasn’t troubled for the rest of the race. The drivers were under a full course yellow after Loic Duval had to stop his car, while the race ended under the safety car after Ma Qing Hua crashed.
There was a longer drive to the starting grid for the drivers, and when the race went green some benefited more than others. Bird didn’t get a great start from pole, and was passed by the Championship leader di Grassi going into Turn 1, while his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne went around the outside of him in Turn 2.
Nico Prost in the Renault e.dams machine also got a noticeably great start, making his way up to fourth by the end of the first lap. Robin Frijns on the other hand dropped to ninth from sixth during the lap. The moves didn’t slow down going into Lap 2 either, as debut driver Ma passed Mike Conway going into Turn 1.
Duval ran into issues in Lap 6, and had to stop his car in between Turn 6 and 7, bringing out a full course yellow. Before this, Frijns dove in on Antonio Felix da Costa, while after the race got going again Ma made another good move on Simona de Silvestro.
Da Costa and Frijns were battling, and on Lap 9 the Dutchman nearly hit the Portuguese driver. Ahead, Sebastien Buemi made a move on Oliver Turvey to get closer to the front, while Frijns was also able to pass the English driver.
Da Costa had a bit more trouble getting around Turvey, and it took him until the end of Lap 15 to be able to make the move to get behind Frijns again. Championship contender Buemi also made a move going into Turn 1 on Stephane Sarrazin, with the next driver ahead his teammate Prost. Nelson Piquet Jr dropped to the back on Lap 17, and made an early change to his second car.
The battle between the two DS Virgin cars and the two Renault e.dams drivers started to heat up. Bird tried to make a move on Vergne on Lap 22, while just behind them Buemi was able to pass Prost. The four drivers went into the pits at the same time, and although they were very close came out in the same order.
Abt Schaeffler’s Di Grassi was 6.5 seconds clear of second place by the end of Lap 26. The race was relatively quiet after the pit stops, but the battle between Vergne, Bird, and Buemi started up again by Lap 33.
On Lap 38 Buemi looked to make the move on Bird but was too far behind, and it was the same on the back straight when the Swiss driver used his Fan Boost. On Lap 40 Bird defended the inside line going into Turn 1, but locked his brakes and went straight on. He spun around and got going quickly, only dropping to sixth place.
The safety car came out at the end of Lap 40 for Ma, who went into the outside wall coming out of Turn 14. With the damage being fairly extensive, the race ended behind the safety car. The win for di Grassi means that his lead in the Driver’s Championship is extended.
Vergne grabs his first podium of the season, while Buemi finished the race in third, meaning the two French teams of DS Virgin and Renault e.dams each had one driver on the top three. Prost finished fourth, with Sarrazin, Bird, and Frijns rounding off the top six.