Bird wins after Rosenqvist retires from lead


Credit: Formula E

Sam Bird won the first ever Rome ePrix and moved into second place in the driver’s standings after Felix Rosenqvist crashed out of the lead.

Rosenqvist had a two second lead to Bird after the car swaps when he clipped the high section of the kerb coming out of the bus stop section.

The contact broke his rear left suspension and meant that he had to retire on the spot, gifting Bird the lead.

The DS Virgin Racing driver then had to withstand pressure from Mitch Evans and then Lucas di Grassi, but held on to take his seventh win in Formula E.

Di Grassi drove admirably through the field to finish strongly, but was under investigation at the chequered flag for an unsafe release during the stops.

He was just ahead of Andre Lotterer who inherited a podium place after Mitch Evans plummeted down the order as he ran out of energy on the final lap.

It was heartbreak for the New Zealander who had come within a whisker of taking the lead, but used too much of his remaining power in fighting at the front and ended up crawling over the line in ninth.

Daniel Abt was in fourth in the other Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler, with championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne crossing the line in fifth.

The Techeetah driver will have been disappointed not to have been higher up after he locked-up trying an overly ambitious move on Sebastien Buemi which led to him losing a position.

However he did keep up his run of finishing in the top five in every race so far this season, and with Rosenqvist retiring he had his lead at the top of the standings preserved.

Buemi finished a disappointing sixth after his second car appeared to lack the pace of his first one, with Jerome d’Ambrosio ending up in seventh after he stayed out later than anyone else and used the extra energy available in his second car to make his way into the points.

And it was a good race for Venturi as they got two cars into the points, with Maro Engel in eighth and Edorado Mortara back into the points in tenth.

It was contrasting emotions for NIO however, despite Oliver Turvey running high up in the early stages of the race.

He fell back slightly before the pit stops as he reached the end of his usable energy, but was then pushed into the side of Nick Heidfeld going into the hairpin.

The contact ended up with both of them in the wall, with matters made worse when his NIO team-mate Luca Filippi ran into the back of him along with Edorado Mortara.

The incident effectively ended all of their races, with the carbon fibre left on the track causing a full course yellow to be issued.

Once again there was controversy regarding the minimum pit stop times as Nelson Piquet Jr was forced to retire when he realised his belts weren’t properly tightened.

The Jaguar Panasonic Racing driver realised just after he was released that there was an issue, but was too far down the pit lane for his mechanics to assist him.