(CNN)Sebastien Buemi broke a two-year win drought to take the first race of the New York City double-header Saturday and keep alive his Formula E world title hopes as championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne finished out of the points.
Follow @cnnsport Techeetah’s Vergne, who had fought his way back to 10th after setting the fastest lap, clashed with former Formula One ace Felipe Massa on the last lap of the 1.4 mile street circuit in Brooklyn and finished out of the points.His misfortune has opened the door for Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, who finished fifth after charging through the field from 14th on the grid, second-placed Mitch Evans of New Zealand and Swiss Buemi, the championship winner in the 2015-16 season. Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farFormula E 2018/19 – The 2018/19 Formula E season is set to be a thriller, with the exciting new Gen2 cars boasting top speeds of 280km/h and more drivers than ever with realistic hopes of taking home the title.Hide Caption 1 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farJean-Eric Vergne strengthened his grip on the title with his third victory of the season in Bern, extending his lead to 38 points at the top of the championship.Hide Caption 2 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farBerlin, race 10 – An ecstatic Lucas Di Grassi celebrated in style after dominating the Berlin E-Prix to close the gap at the top of the drivers’ championship.Hide Caption 3 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farFormula E finally got its first repeat winner of the season in race nine, as Jean-Eric Vergne led from pole to finish to secure his second victory of the season.Hide Caption 4 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farDutch driver Robin Frijns claimed victory in Paris on the day his country celebrated its national King’s Day. The Envision Virgin Racing man was the eighth different driver to win the eight races so far this season.Hide Caption 5 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farMitch Evans victory at the Rome ePrix was Jaguar’s first in motorsport since 1991. The Kiwi is the only driver to score points in the seven races so far this season.Hide Caption 6 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farSanya, race six – Jean-Eric Vergne put an end to a miserable run of form that saw him go pointless for three straight races by taking victory in Sanya, the first time the championship had visited the south China cityHide Caption 7 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farHong Kong, race five – Edoardo Mortara backed up his third place in Mexico by claiming top spot in Hong Kong, Venturi’s first ever victory in Formula E. Sam Bird had initially crossed the line in first place but after a four-hour investigation, was demoted for smashing into the back of race leader Andre Lotterer.Hide Caption 8 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farMexico City, race four – Former world champion Lucas Di Grassi celebrates his victory at the Mexico ePrix, arguably the most thrilling race in the sport’s five seasons. Race leader Pascal Wehrlein’s battery died just meters from the line, allowing Di Grassi to swoop past on the inside and snatch victory.Hide Caption 9 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farSantiago, race three – On a sweltering afternoon in Santiago, Chile — the hottest ePrix in history — Sam Bird stormed to victory at the Parque O’Higgins Circuit. After finishing third overall last season, the Briton will have hopes of coming out on top this time around.Hide Caption 10 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farMarrakesh, race two – Jerome d’Ambrosio followed up his podium finish in Saudi Arabia with victory in Marrakesh — his third in Formula E — to take an early lead at the top of the championship.Hide Caption 11 of 12 Photos: The 2018/19 Formula E season so farAd Diriyah, race one – The season got off to a thrilling start in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, as Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa edged out Jean-Eric Vergne and Jerome d’Ambrosio to claim the second Formula E win of his career.Hide Caption 12 of 12Vergne, who looked assured of the title going into the two season-ending races in the Big Apple, still leads di Grassi by 22 points, with a maximum of 29 available each race, with Evans three further adrift and Buemi in fourth place, 26 points adrift.Buemi (Nissan e.dams) had qualified fastest, earning three points, in search of an elusive 13th victory in Formula E, and led throughout despite coming under strong pressure from Britain’s Alex Lynn (Jaguar Racing), who was later forced to retire.Read MoreBehind him, Vergne, who qualified a lowly 10th, was clipped from behind by his teammate Andre Lotterer in an early incident, forcing both to pit with the title leader dropping to 19thA late yellow flag left him with a chance to work his way through the field to pick up crucial points until in attempting to overtake Venturi driver Massa he lost a wing and limped over the line in 15th and out of the points.
— ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) July 13, 2019 Buemi is the ninth different winner in 12 rounds of a topsy-turvy 2018-19 season after a race being lauded as one of the most exciting in the history of the Formula E championship.”It’s an amazing feeling, it’s a been a hard season and it finally happened today,” he said.Evans, who also started way back on the grid in 13th, steadily worked his way through the field, showing the same pace as his Jaguar Racing teammate Lynn to claim an unexpected runner-up spot.'Who will win? I don't have a clue': Grand finale to world's most unpredictable championshipAntonio Felix Da Costa of Portugal took the final podium place for the BMW Andretti team.But it is Audi Sport’s di Grassi who has been left with the best chance of overhauling Vergne after gaining 10 valuable points.READ: Bern win leaves Vergne in touching distance of titleHowever, with Vergne still having a commanding lead, di Grassi knows there is a tough task ahead.”We need to improve for sure,” he said.His team will also be hoping to claim the constructors’ crown after cutting Techeetah’s lead in that title race to just 24 points with all still to play for in Sunday’s 13th and final round of a compelling championship.