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Buemi rewarded with valuable points after a tough day in Brazil

After a difficult qualifying session earlier in the day, Envision Racing’s Sébastien Buemi battled his way to 10th and claimed the fastest lap at the São Paulo E-Prix.

This year’s São Paulo E-Prix was always going to be a hard-fought one for the Envision Racing team, as competitors gain ground after the opening rounds of the season. After a tough qualifying session, Sébastien Buemi ended up 18th on the grid, with team-mate Robin Frijns one place ahead in 17th. After 34 laps of a race shaped by energy saving and strategy, Buemi ended his afternoon with a hard-earned top 10 result, and bagged an extra point for the fastest lap of the race.  

The former world champion drove a measured race to move up from his lowly starting position to claim what could be a vital two points in the hunt for both the Teams’ and Drivers’ titles this year.

At the start of the second ever São Paulo E-Prix it was pole-sitter Pascal Wehrlein in the Porsche who headed the pack into the first corner. Further back down the field, both Envision Racing drivers emerged unscathed from the opening sequence of turns with Frijns moving up to 15th and Buemi gaining a place.

By the fifth lap of the race, Frijns and Buemi were running line astern in 15th and 16th respectively, as up front it was Sam Bird’s turn to lead from António Félix da Costa and Mitch Evans. Two laps later a safety car was deployed to clean up some debris strewn across the first corner with da Costa leading from Wehrlein and Jean-Éric Vergne.

With the safety car back in the pitlane, Frijns held onto his 15th place with Buemi dropping to 18th. At the halfway point it was all change as Nick Cassidy dramatically crashed out, triggering a second safety car phase. After the dust settled, Buemi found he had pushed himself up into 10th place, and in the points, with Frijns back in 18th.

With the race back underway on lap 20, Bird headed the field once more. In 10th, Buemi found himself behind Maximilian Günther and ahead of Sacha Fenestraz, with the Envision Racing driver yet to use all his Attack Mode.

Buemi elected to take his final Attack Mode phase on lap 24, pushing the Swiss driver back to 12th. This proved a temporary setback as Buemi quickly regained his place in the top 10 and went about setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 26.

The safety car interventions meant that a total of three laps would be added to the initial 31, making the São Paulo E-Prix a 34-lap race. At the beginning of the 34th and final lap, Buemi remained in 10th with Fenestraz’s Nissan in hot pursuit. Could the Envision Racing man hang on to claim a valuable 10th place finish?

The answer was yes. On a sweltering day in São Paulo, Buemi claimed 10th and an unlikely point, which became two as he set the fastest lap of the day.

Up front Sam Bird claimed victory with a stunning last gasp overtake to relegate Evans to second place, with Oliver Rowland rounding out the podium.

Following his podium last time out in Saudi Arabia, it was a disappointing 19th place finish for Frijns, who suffered some technical issues that prevented him cutting through the field over the final few laps.

The Dutch driver will be looking to bounce back as the competition heads to Japan for the first ever Tokyo E-Prix in two weeks’ time.

Drivers’ standings (after Rd 4):
1. Nick Cassidy, 57pts
2. Pascal Wehrlein, 53pts
3. Mitch Evans, 39pts
4. Jean-Éric Vergne 39pts
5. Jake Dennis, 38pts

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9. Sébastien Buemi, 20pts
10. Robin Frijns, 19pts

Teams’ standings (after Rd 4):
1. Jaguar TCS Racing, 96pts
2. Porsche Formula E Team, 61pts
3. DS Penske, 57pts
4. McLaren, 55pts
5. Andretti Formula E, 47 pts

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7. Envision Racing, 39pts