The Frenchman, proudly sporting the tricolour on his Techeetah car ahead of France’s World Cup final appearance, departed the track in fury after his qualifying lap was cancelled due to his team’s overuse of maximum power.

Starting 20th on the grid, the Techeetah driver looked a man possessed as he stormed his way through the field to finish fifth and end title rival Sam Bird’s hopes of becoming Britain’s first Formula E champion. The DS Virgin Racing driver finished in ninth place, without enough points to take the title to a final race decider.

In a one-two finish for Audi, Lucas di Grassi won his second E-Prix in a row, with teammate Daniel Abt coming second – following a dramatic race which saw the two Audi drivers at one stage make contact.

The result leaves Audi just five points behind Techeetah in the Teams' Championship standings ahead of the final race of the Formula E season in New York City on Sunday.

"I can't believe it - what a crazy race - God it feels good!" said an emotional Vergne on team radio after realising his fifth place was enough to become Formula E's fourth different champion in four seasons.

He added: "Really I have no idea what it means to me to be champion – I need more time. 

“I honestly didn’t know, when I crossed the line I had won and I didn’t want to look at the screen.

“All I know is that it’s a good feeling. I have waited all season for this.”