As Sebastien Buemi scored his maiden victory of the season, Jean-Eric Vergne lost a big opportunity to seal his second consecutive championship title as he suffered multiple setbacks during the penultimate round.
As the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E championship arrived in New York City for its final doubleheader, the penultimate round has blown the race for the championship title wide open as defending champion & current championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah) failed to seal the title. Instead, polesitter Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) managed to claim his maiden victory of the season. Since he claimed the Julius Baer pole position as well, the Swiss driver is back in contention for the title by sweeping 28 points. This was also Nissan's first Formula E victory in their debut season.
With Vergne's no-points finish & Buemi's victory, the championship title is now within the grasp of four drivers: Jean-Eric Vergne, Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler), Mitch Evans (Panasonic Jaguar Racing) & Sebastien Buemi. While Vergne is still leading with 130 points, di Grassi is his nearest rival with 108 points, followed by Evans with 105 and Buemi with 104 points.
Buemi, with his incident-free race start, took an early lead. However, within opening minutes of the race, contact between Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing) & Jose Maria Lopez (Geox Dragon) led to chaos on Turn 7, of which Vergne became the most crucial victim. As his teammate Andre Lotterer (DS Techeetah) tried to avoid collision with Lopez's spun car, he was forced to swerve in the opposite direction, where Vergne was. This collision between the two teammates forced both of them to visit the pits, Vergne to get his punctured rear tyre replaced and Lotterer to get his front wing & wheel arch replaced. This pushed Vergne all the way back into 19th place. Meanwhile, at the front, Buemi held on to his lead as he was chased by Alex Lynn (Panasonic Jaguar Racing) & Alexander Sims (BMW i Andretti Motorsport).
Soon, Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing), who had sustained some damage in the opening laps of the race, retired from the race and was also followed by Lynn, who began to slow down and finally came to a halt on Turn 11, with 20 minutes left on the clock. Apparently, he had reported some mechanical problems on his car which forced him to retire. But, Lynn's retirement brought out the safety car which once again allowed the entire pack to regroup behind Buemi.
As the race continued after the safety car, Mitch Evans mounted a successful attack on Daniel Abt (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) to take third place from him. With race leader Buemi in sight, Evans also went past through Alexander Sims to take second place. However, he was not able to surpass Buemi. As a result, Buemi crossed the chequered flag in first, followed by Mitch Evans in second & Antonio Felix da Costa in third (BMW i Andretti Motorsport). Jean-Eric Vergne and Felipe Massa (Venturi) made contact in the ending stage of the race, due to which Vergne could only manage a 15th-place finish. Both Mahindra Racing drivers secured a points-finish, managing to fetch a combined total of 8 points for the team.
Due to the unexpected results in the penultimate round, the championship fight has inevitably come down to the final round, which will also take place at the Brooklyn Street Circuit in New York City.