Jean-Eric Vergne remains the man to catch this term following a fifth-place finish in Rome. However, his eighteen-point lead is vulnerable and he will have to have a better weekend in Paris if he is to maintain his claim for the crown. He managed only a lowly eighth in qualifying in Italy and, although he did well to scramble to fifth even with significant damage to his car early on, he could have done better were it not for some erratic driving near the end.
Sam Bird is one of only three drivers with two wins to his name this season, following a victory in Rome. He enjoyed a stroke of luck when Felix Rosenqvist retired to hand him the lead, but produced a driving masterclass to maintain first place to the end. The Brit will be confident going into Saturday’s race, having previously recorded the fastest lap on the Paris course.
Lucas di Grassi may sit in eighth in the drivers’ standings, but the Brazilian has now scored two 18-point hauls in the last two races. Following his disastrous start to the season, it seems the Audi driver is finally happy with his car and could well be the dark horse in this year’s campaign. His thrilling climb from sixth on the grid to second on the podium in Rome shows the class of last year’s champion, which his rivals should not underestimate.
It didn’t seem like reigning champ Lucas di Grassi stood a chance of bothering those at the top of the tree when he racked up just three points in the first five races. However, he is a seasoned pro and, if he can keep his newfound momentum up in the last five events of the season, he will be there or thereabouts. He talked before the Rome ePrix of driving without pressure because his poor start to the campaign meant he was written off, and he eased his way through the pack in Italy. With two second-places in consecutive races, he certainly seems like a decent bet to go one better for a first win of the season in Paris.
It won’t be easy though, Sam Bird is having the season of his career and has already excelled on the Paris course. He showed immense skill to protect first position last time out, and must be hopeful of a win this weekend. He could just have too much for his Brazilian foe this time around.
It is a nervy time for Jean-Eric Vergne, with the twin pressures of having to maintain an ever more slender lead and to live up to the support he will receive in his home ePrix. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him buckle, making way for an epic tussle between Bird and di Grassi.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
- Sam Bird to win the Paris ePrix