Nico Prost held off a late charge from Scott Speed to take victory in the Miami ePrix.
It meant e.dams-Renault became the first team to score a second win, but five races in and we’re still waiting for a driver to do the same.
Prost didn’t look like a potential winner during the first half of the race, as he was muscled out of second place by Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird. Bird chased down poleman Jean-Eric Vergne (Andretti) as the lead pair established a small margin over the chasing pack.
The Brit pulled off a fine overtaking move to take the lead, but almost immediately had to slow to avoid over consuming his energy. The slow lap back to the pits dropped him to eighth place and out of the fight for the win.
Vergne’s hopes were dashed by a long pitstop and then fading energy. With his pace compromised he slipped two laps behind and came home 18th – the last of the classified runners.
As Vergne and Bird hit trouble, so Daniel Abt moved into the lead, just pipping Prost as the e.dams racer rejoined from the pits.
With Lucas di Grassi close behind, the lead trio circulated in close company, but without ever threatening each other. The action was further back in the top-10, where Speed was in inspired form. Having dispatched team-mate Vergne, he set about and passed Jerome D’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) and then di Grassi in short order.
Having pitted a lap earlier than his rivals, Abt was running low on energy, and with Speed looming large in his mirrors, Prost knew he couldn’t afford to get stuck behind the German. He took the lead with a superb lunge, but Speed also took advantage of the compromised Abt, and forced his way into second.
The American had Prost in his sights, but there was just a lap left to go. With both drivers giving 100 per cent, it was an enthralling final lap, with Prost doing just enough to hold on for his first win and to take the championship lead in the process.
“It didn’t hit me that I’d won until I got back to the pits because they forgot to give me the chequered flag!” he smiled. “I was still pushing like crazy. It was a really good race. When I got out after my change Daniel and I were side-by-side but then I knew he had to do one more lap so I was still saving a lot of energy thinking that I might get a shot. Daniel was running out of energy so I could overtake him.”
Given he had to race in a plain white helmet such was the last-minute nature of the deal, Speed was understandably thrilled to have driven such a competitive race.