|2015 Moscow ePrix|
The Moscow ePrix layout
|Date||6th June 2015|
|Official Name||2015 FIA Formula E Moscow ePrix|
|Lap length||2.39km (1.49mi)|
|Distance||35 laps / 83.65km (51.98mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Jean-Eric Vergne|
|Fastest Lap||1:11.679 on lap 32|
|Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Lucas di Grassi||Nick Heidfeld|
|Winner Team||NEXTEV TCR|
Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet, Jr. became only the second driver to win two ePrix in a single season by taking victory in Moscow, ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Nick Heidfeld. The result allowed Piquet to extend his Championship lead, in a race where he overtook pole sitter Jean-Eric Vergne at the start, and saw another of his title rivals, Sébastien Buemi (whom set the fastest lap) relegated to ninth.
One modification was made to the entry list, as Justin Wilson, once of the Minardi F1 Team, joined Andretti Autosport, replacing Scott Speed. The Brit brings several years of Indy Car experience, and is based with Andretti in America. NEXTEV TCR also announced a change to their line-up, with Antonio Garcia returning to the team in Charles Pic's absence.
Championship-wise, the post-race drama in Berlin had caused a seismic shift in the title chase, as Lucas di Grassi fell to third in the Championship. His major rival, and fellow Brazilian, Nelson Piquet, Jr. now led the Championship by two points from Sébastien Buemi, who was eight ahead of di Grassi. Those three were the favourites with three rounds to go, with Nicolas Prost and Jérôme d'Ambrosio (winner last time out) now the dark horses for the title.
e.dams-Renault came to Moscow with a commanding lead in the Teams' Championship, holding a 63 point lead (with 48 available per-race), meaning they could scoop the title in the Russian Capital. That scenario remained unlikely, as Dragon Racing, Audi Sport ABT and NEXTEV TCR also continued to score points at every round. For Dragon, Berlin had been massively successful, as they leapt from sixth to second after d'Ambrosio and Loïc Duval both stood on the Berlin podium.
The full entry list for the 2015 Moscow ePrix is displayed below:
The qualifying session for the Moscow ePrix was to start at 12:00 local time, following the standard format. There was a threat of rain for the session, although bright and clear skies over the Russian capital saw no rain materialise throughout the session.
The Championship battle was the focus in the first group of the session as Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Sébastien Buemi, first and second in the title battle, went to the track. They would be joined by debutant Justin Wilson, Jaime Alguersuari and Nick Heidfeld, although the fastest time was expected to be set by either Buemi or Piquet. As it turned out, that prediction was correct, with Piquet setting the pace, ahead of Buemi whom himself had topped Practice Two. The Brazilian was over four tenths of a second faster than the Swiss driver, with a further two tenths to Heidfeld. Wilson's first qualifying session saw him beat Alguersuari, with the Spaniard over a second and a half slower than Piquet.
Virgin Racing and e.dams-Renault's championship outsiders Sam Bird and Nicolas Prost were the standout names in Group Two, joined by Jérôme d'Ambrosio. António Félix da Costa ensured their were four different winners in the group, with Daniel Abt the other man in the group, although the German had started on pole.
Surprisingly, it was Jérôme d'Ambrosio, the man with form, who was fastest in the group, but was half a second off of Piquet's provisional pole. Prost and Abt were in close attendance, with the trio all just ahead of Heidfeld, with Bird a quarter of a second further back. Da Costa could be found at the back of the group, just ahead of Alguersuari.
Antonio Garcia's return to the Championship saw him put into a group with quali specialists Jean-Eric Vergne and Jarno Trulli, with Vergne one of the favourites as usual. But, dominating the group's entrants was Lucas di Grassi, whom was determined to overcome the disqualification he was handed in Berlin which saw him drop points in the title. Loïc Duval was also in the group, but was expected to be a small factor in the overall quali result.
The last time Garcia and Vergne had shared a qualifying session, the Frenchman had started on pole, and so it proved in Moscow as Vergne took provisional pole away from Piquet. Di Grassi, meanwhile, secured third provisionally, meaning there was to be another frosty atmosphere in the top three seats once again, as he would have to sit next to Piquet, with Trulli missing out on a certain top five start after a mistake in the last sector. Of Garcia, the Spaniard was to be found outside the top ten, behind Wilson, after Duval shut his car down before setting a fast time.
Mahindra Racing saw both of their cars lead out the final group, with Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna hoping to rediscover the form they had at the start of the season. Stéphane Sarrazin was in a similar position, while Vitantonio Liuzzi and Salvador Duran were hoping to improve on their best starting positions before the season came to a close.
None of the group were expected to threaten the top of the grid, and so it proved with only Sarrazin making it into the top ten, with Duran in eleventh. Senna and Chandhok were to be found in the final quarter of the grid, with Liuzzi struggling to set up his car effectively, with his time meaning there were 2.5 seconds between first and last in qualifying, one of the larger gaps in the season.
Following qualifying, Sarrazin was excluded for breaking Parc-Ferme rules, although he was allowed to compete in the ePrix from the back of the grid. As such, everyone from tenth down was promoted one position.
- * Sarrazin excluded for breeching Parc-Ferme regulations.
With the familiar 16:00 start time set for the ePrix, the clear skies remained throughout the afternoon, heralding a dry race in Moscow. Around two hours after qualifying, the top three in the Championship, and second third and fourth on the grid, were announced as the winners of the FanBoost vote. In other words, Nelson Piquet Jr., Lucas di Grassi and Sébastien Buemi would all receive a five second power boost twice during the race.
An even start for Piquet and pole sitter Jean-Eric Vergne quickly turned into an advantage for the Brazilian, for Piquet was on the inside of Vergne into the first corner. Piquet was quick to establish his lead, with title rivals di Grassi and Buemi unable to get past Vergne, who was soon under continuous pressure from the pair. Daniel Abt was the man on the move in the top ten, jumping into fifth from seventh on the grid in an attempt to help his title challenging team mate di Grassi, while Sam Bird attempted to get through the field from his poor starting position.
As Piquet pulled ahead, however, it soon became clear that energy conservation was the order of the day, with higher than expected usage causing some to question their ability to make it to the end of the race. That said, most of the action was on track still, with Jarno Trulli fighting a furious defence from António Félix da Costa for ninth. The Italian would suffer from his tactics in the fight later on, but was able to keep the Portugese at bay for the time being.
As the stops approached, it became clear that Buemi was the man to watch as, sat in fourth, he had a 10% power advantage over Piquet in front, and was still within a few seconds of the leader. Trulli, meanwhile, was becoming increasingly desperate in his defence, as twice in a few laps he cut the chicane towards Red Square to hold onto his position. An noticeably irate da Costa began to throw his Amlin Aguri at the Trulli machine at every opportunity to try to get past.
After Bruno Senna spun into the wall at the first corner, costing himself a rear wing, Piquet led the field into the pits, although, significantly, Buemi stayed out with an extra laps worth of energy. Yet, a lap later, his chances of victory disappeared, and also cost his team mate Nicolas Prost valuable points. e.dams-Renault misinterpreted the managers breifing, believing that the minimum pitstop time in Moscow was 68 seconds, not the 59 that all the other stops had been timed to. The result of which was that e.dams effectively handed their drivers 10 second penalties, and dropped them out of contention.
Back in the Trulli train, and da Costa had finally forced his way past the Italian, catching the former F1 winner unawares into the third corner, allowing Justin Wilson to try his hand at getting past. Once again, Trulli's defence involved cutting the chicane on the back straight, although he was seemingly avoiding a penalty for doing so. Buemi, meanwhile, used his FanBoost to set fastest lap in an unlikely attempt to rejoin the fight for second.
Stéphane Sarrazin was in the wars, having served a stop-go penalty for speeding in the pits, before locking up his rear wheels completely into the hairpin of turn twelve to avoid hitting Jaime Alguersuari. Trulli was the next to suffer damage in the closing stages, as his robust defence against Wilson caught Loïc Duval out into the very corner Sarrazin had spun at. The Frenchman locked all four wheels trying to stop a collision, but was successful in only knocking the rear wing completely off the Italian's car. Duval allowed Wilson, who ran deliberately wide to avoid the incident, to rejoin before continuing himself.
Yet, there was little anyone could do to stop Piquet claiming victory, as the Brazilian took his second win of the season with ease. Di Grassi had dispatched Vergne early on in the second half of the race, but battery overheating meant he could not quite catch his countryman for the lead. Buemi was next over the line, followed quickly by Nick Heidfeld and Vergne, the former two having taken the Frenchman on the last lap.
Buemi had attempted to get past Vergne into the complex at turn three, but was unable to do so, although he was able to get alongside the Frenchman into the chicane. Yet, with no room for two cars, Buemi cut the chicane, before slowing to allow Vergne back past, a plan which delayed both of them, as Vergne seemed reluctant to get by. This allowed Heidfeld to slip right into the back of Buemi into the hairpin of turn eleven, meaning he clinched fourth from Vergne, who lost out on both positions through no fault of his own. Yet, the order was to be modified after the race was completed, with several drivers in the Clark of the course's notebook for various reasons.
Buemi was the most significant casualty of the rules, slapped with a 30 second penalty for an unsafe release from his pitstop, meaning he dropped to ninth. Duval was also awarded the same penalty, while Trulli's unique defence methods were recognised with a five place grid penalty for London.
The final classification of the 2015 Moscow ePrix is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2015 Moscow ePrix Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Nat.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1||99||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||35||43:18.867||1:11.942||25|
|2||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT||35||+2.012s||1:11.957||18|
|4||27||Jean-Eric Vergne||Andretti Autosport||35||+12.416s||1:12.427||15|
|5||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT||35||+25.626s||1:12.895||10|
|6||77||Salvador Duran||Amlin Aguri||35||+28.960s||1:12.863||8|
|7||55||António Félix da Costa||Amlin Aguri||35||+30.529s||1:12.327||6|
|10||28||Justin Wilson||Andretti Autosport||35||+46.320s||1:13.039||1|
|11||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||35||+51.474s||1:12.296|
|12||5||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing||35||+52.493s||1:12.870|
|13||3||Jaime Alguersuari||Virgin Racing||35||+55.810s||1:12.707|
|15*||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||35||+1:18.763||1:12.280|
|16||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||34||+1 lap||1:12.741|
|17||18||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Trulli||34||+1 lap||1:12.871|
|18†||10||Jarno Trulli||Trulli||32||+3 laps||1:13.204|
|19||88||Antonio Garcia||NEXTEV TCR||32||+3 laps||1:12.419|
|Ret||2||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||24||Damage||1:12.342|
- * Buemi and Duval awarded 29 second penalties for unsafe releases.
- † Trulli handed a five place grid penalty at the next ePrix for repeated corner cutting.
- Debut for Justin Wilson.
- Third pole position for Jean-Eric Vergne.
- Second win for Nelson Piquet, Jr.
Nelson Piquet Jr. extended his Championship lead to seventeen points through victory, with Lucas di Grassi overtaking Sébastien Buemi after the Swiss driver was relegated to ninth. They became the only drivers with a realistic chance of taking the title at the season finale in London, although Nicolas Prost, Jérôme d'Ambrosio and Sam Bird were still within 60 points (with 60 left). Nick Heidfeld leapt into the top ten after his surprise podium, while Justin Wilson rounded out the point scorers with debut points for Andretti Autosport.
e.dams-Renault lost a fair amount of their sizeable lead in Moscow, but, with only 96 points left, and a 44 point lead, they remained the favourites for the title. Audi Sport ABT and NEXTEV TCR overtook Dragon Racing after the American team failed to score any points. Virgin Racing also lost out on fifth, with Andretti taking the position, while Venturi's late charge through the table saw them wrestle eighth away from Mahindra Racing.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Videos and Images:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 'Formula E to race in Moscow', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/02/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/february/formula-e-to-race-in-moscow.aspx, (Accessed 27/05/2015)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 'Piquet masters Moscow', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 06/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/piquet-increases-lead-in-championship-with-moscow-win.aspx, (Accessed 09/06/2015)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 'Justin Wilson to race for Andretti in Moscow', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 27/05/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/may/justin-wilson-to-race-for-andretti-in-moscow.aspx, (Accessed 27/05/2015)
- ↑ 'Garcia back for NEXTEV TCR', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 29/05/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/may/garcia-back-for-nextev-tcr.aspx, (Accessed 29/05/2015)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 'Moscow ePrix: Qualifying groups', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 06/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/moscow-eprix-qualifying-groups.aspx, (Accessed 08/06/2015)
- ↑ 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 'Vergne secures pole for Moscow ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 06/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/vergne-secures-pole-for-moscow-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 08/06/2015)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 'Di Grassi, Piquet and Buemi win #FanBoost vote', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 06/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/di-grassi-piquet-and-buemi-win-fanboost-vote.aspx, (Accessed 09/06/2015)
- ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 8.17 8.18 8.19 'Moscow ePrix race highlights', youtube.com, (YouTube: FIA Formula E, 06/06/2015), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNT0hc3yp6Q, (Accessed 09/06/2015)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 'Buemi penalised for unsafe release', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 06/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/buemi-penalised-for-unsafe-release.aspx, (Accessed 09/06/2015)