Sebastien Buemi has taken his first Formula E race win in Uruguay after benefiting from a late retirement for Jean-Eric Vergne just as the pair seemed primed for a victory tussle.

Ex-F1 driver Vergne had already surprised the field by claiming pole position around the Punta del Este circuit just hours after making his debut in the electric-powered single seater, but was beaten to the first corner by better-starting front row sitter Nelson Piquet Jr.

Nonetheless, the Frenchman spent the early laps putting pressure on the China Racing driver before pouncing for the lead into the final corner. However, in attempting to overtake his rival, Vergne had used more of his electric charge than those around him, forcing him to pit a lap earlier.

Furthermore, when Stephane Sarrazin broke his suspension to force the safety car to be deployed just as drivers were pitting, the running order of the race had changed significantly, with Buemi emerging out front, ahead of Vergne.

When the race got underway again, Vergne proceeded to push fellow STR F1-alumni Buemi hard, but just as it looked as though he would launch an attack on the Swiss driver, his Andretti Autosport car slowed with suspension damage, putting him out of the race.

Though he faced late attention from Piquet after another late safety car, Buemi was able to hold on for victory, crossing the line for his first Formula E victory in the e.dams Renault, ahead of the Brazilian. Lucas di Grassi completed the podium to maintain his perfect podium record and strengthen his advantage in the overall Formula E standings.

After a dismal start to the year, Jarno Trulli turned in a strong effort to finish fourth in his eponymous car, ahead of Jaime Alguersuari and Bruno Senna, who was lucky to hold onto sixth after damaging his suspension just moments before he had to swap his car anyway.

Nicolas Prost finished in seventh place, ahead of Jerome d'Ambrosio, Oriol Servia and Nick Heidfeld, who served a drive-thru penalty for not taking his pit-stop in the allocated window as a result of the safety car.

Elsewhere, title contender Sam Bird's dismal day ended in the wall after crashing out early on. The Virgin Racing driver - who dominated the previous race in Malaysia - was already at the back of the field after clipping the wall in qualifying, but his race lasted just three laps. Similarly, Antonio Felix da Costa suffered a crash.

 

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