The first Formula E race of 2017 took place in Argentina but the third race of the 2016-17 season produced a familiar result.
Elsewhere five drivers went into the final round of the MRF Challenge with a shot at the title – and the outcome was victory for someone with a very famous surname.
Races 13-16: Madras Motor Race Track
Five drivers entered the last round of the MRF Challenge with a mathematical chance of the championship but the key protagonists were points leader Joey Mawson, Adrian Newey’s son Harrison and Mick Schumacher, son of Michael. Manuel Maldonado, cousin of ex-Williams and Lotus racer Pastor Maldonado, was also in the field.
Newey won the opening race from pole position with Schumacher second and championship leader Mawson down in fifth. But victory plus fastest lap in race two restored some of the advantage Mawson had lost. Newey could only manage fourth in the second race while Schumacher, who was edged wide by his rival on lap one, took seventh.
Race three set up a title-deciding finale, but retirement for Schumacher finished off his fading championship hopes. Newey won again from pole while Mawson came fourth and took a 12-point lead in the final race.
With pole position for the final race Mawson looked in good shape. And though Newey immediately passed Schumacher for second at the start he appeared too preoccupied with keeping his rival behind than chasing down the championship leader.
But at the end of lap ten it all went wrong for Mawson as a brief error allowed both Newey and Schumacher through. Newey duly claimed the final win of the season and also took the fastest lap. That meant he and Mawson ended the season tied on 277 points, meaning Newey claimed the championship by virtue of his seven wins to Mawson’s three.
Race 3: Buenos Aires
Remarkably Lucas di Grassi’s pole position at the Puerto Madero street circuit in Buenos Aires was his first ever in Formula E. But he was unable to convert it into victory as the reigning champion made it three wins out of three at the start of the 2016-17 season.
A strong start from di Grassi saw him maintain the lead while second-placed Jean-Eric Vergne successfully held on to second place. Within just a handful of laps later Vergne wrestled the lead from di Grassi.
Sebastien Buemi was also bearing down on the pair of them and passed Di Grassi for second three corners later. He set about applying pressure to Vergne who he easily passed for the lead on lap six.
From then on Buemi never looked back, only managing his energy towards the end and allowing Vergne to close, but never enough to challenge. Behind, di Grassi temporarily lost out to Oliver Turvey and Nicolas Prost but recovered his third place by the chequered flag.
Over to you
Do you think anyone can stop Sebastien Buemi in Formula E this season? And of the young drivers in the MRF challenge a good number – including Mawson, Newey, Schumacher, Ralf Aron and Dan Ticktum – showed potential. Who are you keeping an eye on?
What racing action did you watch last weekend? Let us know in the comments.
Next weekend’s racing
The following series are in action next weekend:
- NASCAR Cup race 1: Daytona
Weekend Racing Wrap
- Last-lap crash means F3 title fight goes to the wire
- IndyCar title fight goes down to the last lap
- Bizarre ambulance incident disrupts NASCAR race
- Watkins Glen shock sets up seven-way showdown at IndyCar finale
- IndyCar crash highlights cockpit safety concerns