Formula E

Bird gutted after losing lead of Hong Kong ePrix

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Sam Bird said it was ‘gutting’ to retire from the Hong Kong ePrix having led at the halfway stage.

The Brit moved up to second at the start, and took over the lead of the race after Nelson Piquet Jnr locked up at the turn 3/4 chicane following his team-mate Jose Maria Lopez’s crash.

Crucially though DS Virgin Racing chose not to pit Bird in the resultant safety car period, giving him only a few laps to build a lead over those who did pit before he had to stop for his second car.

He wasn’t able to build enough of a gap to maintain first place, and his chances of fighting for a podium place were ended when his second car wouldn’t start.

Although the team did eventually manage to get the car going, he came out a lap behind the leaders and finished a lowly thirteenth.

Despite being disappointed at the end result, Bird said it was better to spot these problems early in the season.

“We ran into technical difficulties during changeover,” Bird said.

“Whilst it’s obviously gutting given the lead I’d opened, it’s better we diagnose and iron out the problems now at race one, rather than later in the season.”

Team Principal Alex Tai on the other hand blamed the team’s result on luck, and said that there were positives to draw from the weekend.

He said, We clearly have a fast car, and but for some awful luck today would have finished on the podium and perhaps even have won the race.

“We’re all highly passionate individuals in the team and I know how much a day like this will hurt each and every one of us.

“But there are huge positives to come out of the weekend in terms of the underlying pace of the car, and I’m sure we’ll bounce back strongly in Marrakech and demonstrate to everyone exactly what we’re capable of.”

Lopez’s crash meanwhile was attributed to contact in the first corner that left him with handling problems for the rest of the race.

It led to him falling down the order quickly before the crash, but despite this he was drawing positives from his strong qualifying.

“I had contact in the first corner, and I never really came back from it,” Lopez said.

“I had a fantastic qualifying, I won fanboost for which I’d like to thank all my supporters, and I now know I can deliver in Formula E.

“The car is fast and I think qualifying proved that.

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