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Lucas di Grassi has wrestled the Formula E championship lead from Sebastien Buemi thanks to his second victory of the season at the Long Beach ePrix while his main title rivals Buemi and Sam Bird made key mistakes.

di Grassi steered clear of trouble and his victory rarely looked in doubt after passing Bird for the lead in the opening stages. Bird threw away a certain podium after locking up and running into the barriers just after the car changeover stops but was able to battle back to take sixth.

Buemi, who had enjoyed positive early progress moving up to fifth place, made his critical error at the hairpin when he ran into the rear of Robin Frijns's Amlin Andretti.

Both cars suffered heavy damage and required early changeovers, sending the pair a lap down and struggling to make the finish because of power limits.

Abt's di Grassi had no such problems by making his pass for the lead stick on pole-sitter Bird and in the Brit's heightened urgency to hunt down the leader he made a mistake at turn five by locking up his front tyres and sliding into the tyre barriers.

Further back Buemi, with his race ruined after also being handed a drive through penalty for his crash with Frijns, concentrated on damage limitation by targeting the fastest lap of the race to grab the two bonus points available.

It was a miserable race for Renault e.dams all round after Prost, running in fourth, was handed a drive through penalty for his pit stop which was under the minimum allowed time of 67 seconds.

There was still time for late drama after defending Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr crashed at turn one with six laps remaining. After Piquet's car was cleared it gave the drivers three laps to sprint to the chequered flag.

di Grassi successfully fended off Stephane Sarrazin to claim the win in California and slash Buemi's championship lead as Formula E heads to Europe for its final leg of the season.

The mistakes at the front enabled Sarrazin to take his first podium of the season in second with Daniel Abt completing the rostrum finishers.

Mahindra provisionally claimed two top five finishes with Nick Heidfeld in fourth and Bruno Senna fifth ahead of Bird with Jerome d'Ambrosio, Loic Duval, Simona de Silvestro and Mike Conway rounding out the points-paying positions at Long Beach.