Bird wins as di Grassi closes gap at the top


Credit: Formula E

Sam Bird grabbed his fourth ever Formula E race win in the inaugural New York ePrix.

The DS Virgin Racing driver moved up to third in a chaotic start, but was stuck behind his rookie team-mate Alex Lynn.

After complaining to his team that Lynn was defending too strongly, the Virgin team gave Lynn a warning and he soon succumbed.

That left Bird with only Daniel Abt ahead of him, and he swiftly passed him for the lead of the race.

He held that lead for the remaining laps, and held off a late challenge from Jean-Eric Vergne after the safety car was brought out with only a few laps to go for the stricken Mahindra Racing car of Nick Heidfeld after he suffered a suspension failure.

Behind the front two Stephane Sarrazin made it Techeetah’s best ever race result after he achieved a double podium for the Chinese team.

The Frenchman in only his second race for the team put in some great laps around the pit stops to come out in fourth place.

He then benefited from a late mistake from Abt to grab third place and only his second podium in three years.

Significantly for the championship, Abt’s retirement also allowed his team-mate Lucas di Grassi through for fourth, meaning that the gap at the top of the driver’s championship is now only twenty points.

With Sebastien Buemi missing both rounds in New York, di Grassi needed to make the most of his absence, but starting in tenth meant that he might have struggled.

However he made solid progress at the start, and benefitted from the retirements of both Mahindras as Felix Rosenqvist spun into the wall whilst under pressure from the Brazilian.

Abt’s travails also meant that Loic Duval scored his first points since Argentina in fifth place, with Oliver Turvey behind him in sixth.

Debutant Pierre Gasly made brilliant progress in his Renault e.dams to come from second last to seventh, just one place ahead of his team-mate Nico Prost.

Both will be disappointed not to have helped Buemi in his championship battle though as they finished well behind di Grassi.

It was disappointment for Lynn as well as he saw his good work to get on pole position disappear.

He suffered from his battery overheating in the first part of the race, and then had his drive shaft fail on his second car.

It meant a DNF for the young Brit, although he’ll be confident of bouncing back in tomorrow’s race given the pace he’s shown.

POSDRIVERNATTEAM
1Sam BirdGBRDS Virgin Racing
2Jean-Eric VergneFRATecheetah
3Stephane SarrazinFRATecheetah
4Lucas di GrassiBRAAbt Audi Schaeffler
5Loic DuvalFRAFF Dragon Racing
6Oliver TurveyGBRNextEV TIO
7Pierre GaslyFRARenault e.dams
8Nico ProstFRARenault e.dams
9Robin FrijnsNEDMS Amlin Andretti
10Adam CarrollGBRPanasonic Jaguar Racing
11Nelson Piquet JrBRANextEV TIO
12Antonio Felix da CostaPORMS Amlin Andretti
13Tom DillmanFRAVenturi
14Daniel AbtGERAbt Audi Schaeffler
15Felix RosenqvistSWEMahindra Racing
DNFNick HeidfeldGERMahindra Racing
DNFMaro EngelGERVenturi
DNFAlex LynnGBRDS Virgin Racing
DNFJerome d'AmbrosioBELFF Dragon Racing
DNFMitch EvansNZLPanasonic Jaguar Racing