Poignant win for Piquet Jr. at Long Beach
Nelson Piquet Jr. took his first win for China Racing at the Long Beach ePrix, and we don’t think anyone begrudges him his victory for it was on the same streets, 35 years ago, that his father, Nelson Piquet Sr., won his first Formula One race. Second place was claimed by Jean Eric Vergne who showed some aggressive driving skills, while Lucas di Grassi completed the trio with his fourth podium finish.
Piquet Jr. had donned a helmet design to match his father’s one from the 1980 F1 race, and it proved to be a good luck charm. He had qualified fourth, but made a superb start heading into the first turn to slip past pole sitter, Daniel Abt, and Sebastien Buemi. He went on to lead the entire race and crossed the line with a 1.7-second gap from Vergne.
Both Vergne and Piquet Jr. had been voted to receive the fan boost option, but Piquet Jr. decided to not risk it especially since his battery was overheating. “Obviously, if Jean-Eric was pushing me I’m sure I would have used it, but I just made sure I kept the distance over him so I didn’t need to,” he said.
Piquet Jr.’s meaningful victory has brought him into serious contention for the drivers’ championship. He is now just one point behind the current lead and fellow Brazilian, Lucas di Grassi, who is now tottering at the top of the table.
There has yet to be a repeat winner – six winners in as many races – but the next race, which will take place on a similar track in Monaco, will see Piquet Jr. and di Grassi battling to charge ahead in the drivers’ standing.