Envision Racing’s Sébastien Buemi started his 100th Formula E race from the front. He sealed pole position in scintillating style and was in contention for the victory for much of the 39-lap Diriyah E-Prix.

Buemi started round two of the 2022-23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship superbly, withstanding early-race pressure from Jaguar’s Sam Bird, and then McLaren’s Jake Hughes, before falling back during the closing laps, but hanging on for a strong fourth-place finish.

Buemi’s Envision Racing team-mate Nick Cassidy enjoyed a stellar evening of racing. Starting 10th, he kept out of trouble, driving smoothly to come home sixth, ensuring a total of 23 points for the team after the first race of the weekend.


Cassidy narrowly missed out on making the head-to-head, ending up fifth fastest in group one and earning a 10th place grid slot, leaving the way clear for team-mate Buemi to take centre stage. The Swiss driver held the top spot for most of the duration during group two qualifying, setting the second quickest time to progress into the knock-out phase for the second consecutive race.

Buemi went up against Mitch Evans in the first quarter final duel and played a blinder. Despite trailing Evans during the early part of the lap, the Season 2 champion overhauled the Jaguar driver’s initial advantage to scorch through into the semi-finals for the first time.

In the semi-final Buemi faced off against Bird. The Envision Racing man was sublime in what proved to be a tight battle, but Buemi had enough in reserve to clinch a place in the final where he would take on McLaren’s Jake Dennis.

And what a final it was. Buemi used all his speed and experience to once again gain time as the lap progressed. Dennis appeared to have the upper hand, but Buemi kept his nerve, and aced the final corner, to take his 15th career pole position in dramatic fashion.


When the lights went out to start it was a textbook start from Buemi with the Envision Racing driver maintaining his lead. Behind the leaders came the inevitable contact at turn one, triggering a safety car.

The green fag flew after just half a lap, allowing Buemi to resume his place at the front, followed by Hughes and Bird. Further back, Cassidy made solid early-race progress, moving up from his starting slot of 10th to eighth by lap three.

At the end of lap three, Hughes and Bird swapped places, with the Jaguar driver taking up the mantle of chasing down Buemi to engage in a mouth-watering scrap as they pulled away from Hughes. Despite some measured defending, by the beginning of lap eight, Bird had found his way into the lead, leaving Buemi to defend from Hughes.

By lap 20 it was Wehrlein’s turn to hassle Buemi, and the Porsche driver claimed second as the Envision Racing driver elected to take his first Attack Mode phase of the evening three laps later. Crucially, as Buemi diverted to take Attack Mode, he remained in front of Rene Rast in the McLaren.

Up front Wehrlein caught Bird and slugged it out with the British driver. This allowed Buemi to join the party, once again finding himself within striking distance of the squabbling leading pair, as Wehrlein made a desperate and unsuccessful bid for first position.

Entering the final 10 laps the pace was fast and furious. Buemi maintained a watching brief on the leading duo, as team-mate Cassidy held sixth. Wehrlein hit the front on lap 31, passing Bird at turn one.

As the chequered flag loomed, Buemi found himself in fourth, behind Dennis, after the Envision Racing driver elected to take another phase of Attack Mode. As Dennis pushed on and joined the battle for the lead, Buemi was left to consolidate fourth place.

Behind the top three, as Buemi held fourth, Cassidy showed great pace to hassle Rast for fifth place. Ultimately, the Kiwi driver would run out of laps, settling for sixth despite a desperate, and sideways, bid to snatch fifth at the line. Ahead of Cassidy and Rast, Buemi took fourth behind Bird, with Wehrlein winning from Jake Dennis.

“Today was a good day with pole position, fourth place and Nick finishing in sixth, which is a strong team result,” commented Buemi. “It was very emotional to score pole position after so many seasons not being on pole, so I was very happy, but a little disappointed to finish fourth after starting from the front. I think we had good race pace in Mexico, but today we lacked a bit of speed, but we will come back tomorrow and I will keep doing my best.”

Reflecting on his sixth place finish at the Diriyah E-Prix, Cassidy said: “I would take sixth place today, but I felt there was more. The way in which we got there, I definitely feel there was more I could have done today. We started too far back because of a mistake in qualifying. There’s definitely more to come and fingers crossed we can put it together and get a better result tomorrow.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s second race at the Riyadh Street Circuit, Envision Racing’s Managing Director & CTO Sylvain Filippi was in a buoyant mood. “It was another great race for the team,” said Filippi. “In only our second GEN3 event, both cars finished in the points, Seb started on pole, and we had good race pace overall. Fourth place for Seb is a pretty good result in only his second race with the team, and Nick starting in tenth also had great speed and came sixth, which is a really strong result. We were fast in qualifying, but we need to find a little bit more for the race tomorrow.”

Drivers’ standings (after Rd 2):
1. Jake Dennis, 44pts
2. Pascal Wehrlein, 43pts
3. Sébastien Buemi, 23pts
4. Lucas di Grassi, 18pts
5. Sam Bird, 15pts
9. Nick Cassidy, 10pts

Teams’ standings (after Rd 2):
1. Avalanche Andretti, 58pts
2. Porsche Formula E Team, 49pts
3. Envision Racing, 33pts
4. McLaren Formula E Team, 25pts
5. Jaguar TCS Racing, 20pts