Di Grassi wins inaugural Formula E race after Prost, Heidfeld crash on final lap
It was right place, right time for Lucas di Grassi, who won the Beijing E-Prix, the Formula E Series’ first race, after a scary final-lap crash involving leaders Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld.
Heading to the final corner of the inaugural electric-car event, Heidfeld dove to the inside to pass Prost, and Prost attempted to block, with the wheels of Prost’s car touching the wheels of Heidfeld’s machine, sending Heidfeld spinning and eventually flipping after hitting the curbing.
"Once I hit the curb it felt like I was in the air forever," said Heidfeld. "I closed my eyes and waited for the impact and then I thought ‘Oh that was lucky!’ I have a small pain in my calf but apart from that I’m perfectly fine.”
The two exchanged words after they got out of their vehicles, but it did not escalate to anything more.
As for di Grassi, he was thrilled to claim the inaugural Formula E win and take home 25 points in the championship race.
“Firstly, I’m happy Nick [Heidfeld] is ok and it shows how safe these cars are. To win the race is like a dream come true. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The team did a great job all through practice and qualifying, yes we made a few mistakes but overall I’m extremely happy to be the first ever winner of a Formula E race.”
Andretti Autosport’s Frank Montagny finished second while Sam Bird of Virgin Racing secured the final podium spot.
Many eyes were on Bruno Senna – nephew of Formula One legend Ayrton Senna – but he unfortunately suffered a miserable weekend. Contact on the opening lap left Senna with a broken suspension, ending his race early. The Brazilian also failed to complete a lap in qualifying after a battery failure.
Despite topping four of the five pre-season tests, e.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi failed to finished after retiring on Lap 19.
Formula E now heads to Putrajaya, Malaysia for round two of the championship on November 22.
TV ALERT — The inaugural Formula E race will re-air on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports Go this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.