Practice and qualifying sessions saw some heated action but were ultimately dominated by the large number of former F1 drivers who took eight of the top ten positions. Having just switched to the electric racing series after losing his ride in F1, Jean-Eric Vergne impressed by taking pole position on his Formula E race debut – just edging out Nelsinho Piquet, Nicolas Prost and Sebastien Buemi. Jaime Alguersuari, Lucas di Grassi, Jarno Trulli, Bruno senna, Nick Heidfeld and Daniel Abt filled out the top ten on the grid ahead of another ten back-markers.
As if the debut pole weren't enough to put Vergne in a solid position for the race, the French driver was also one of three drivers – alongside Nick Heidfeld and Salvador Duran – to be awarded a five-second power boost by the fans, to be used at any time during the race. Would that be enough for F1's most recent graduate to take the win in Punta del Este? Stay with us for a brief run-down of the race and for the video highlights below.
Once the race got under way on Saturday, Vergne stayed true to form and held his lead off the line, but it wasn't long before he lost position to Piquet – a controversial but more experienced racer who's won two Formula Three titles and competed in GP2, A1 GP, F1, NASCAR and Le Mans. But Piquet brushed the wall, handing the lead back to Vergne.
Vergne held his lead off the line, but it wasn't long before he lost position to Piquet.
Jean-Eric lead the field until the half-way point when Stephane Sarrazin hit the curb, busted his suspension and spun out. The accident prompted the safety car to be deployed and most of the field to dive into the pits to switch cars – but Vergne had unfortunately just pitted by that point, lost position to Buemi and had to play catch-up once the race got back under way. Vergne followed in hot pursuit for the rest of the race, and glued back to Buemi's tail when the safety car was deployed again – this time after Matthew Brabham hit the wall.
With the race back under way again, Vergne deployed his FanBoost and got right up on Buemi's six, but couldn't quite make it past. Vergne pushed a little too hard, busted his suspension and flunked out of the race with just one lap to go.
Vergne deployed his FanBoost and got right up on Buemi's six.
By that point, Piquet was too far back to catch up to Buemi, who sailed across the finish line to claim the checkered flag. Joining Buemi and Piquet on the podium once again was Lucas di Grassi – the only driver to finish every race so far on the podium, having won the opening round in Beijing and taken second in Malaysia.
Trulli took fourth place, followed by Alguersuari, Senna, Prost, d'Ambrosio, Servia and Heidfeld to round out the top ten. Vergne at least got his three points for having taken pole, and Abt got two for recording the fastest lap during the race.
The results further extend di Grassi's lead in the standings by 18 points, giving him 59 to Malaysia race winner Sam Bird and this weekend's winner Buemi, who each hold 40 points. Prost trails with 24 points, followed by Piquet and d'Ambrosio with 22 apiece. The combined results leave e.dams Renault in the lead in the teams' standings with 64 points, just ahead of Audi Sport Abt with 62.
The next round is set to take place on January 10 in Buenos Aires, before another two-month break that precedes the US rounds in Miami and then Long Beach before returning to Europe for races in Monaco, Berlin and London.