Formula E

Bird wins chaotic Santiago ePrix

2 Mins read
Credit: Envision Virgin Racing

Sam Bird continued his run of getting a victory in every season of Formula E after winning a brilliant Santiago ePrix.

The Envision Virgin Racing driver came through from fourth on the grid to win a chaotic race in which only fourteen drivers crossed the finishing line.

In what was one of the hottest races in Formula E history, it was expected that many cars would struggle to keep their battery temperatures under control, but it was the tyres that proved to be a bigger issue.

After only a few laps significant marbles were gathering off line, making it treacherous for anyone who ran wide or missed a braking point.

This saw many drivers running into the back of each other into the two tight hairpins, and several hefty crashes, including one for Sebastien Buemi when he was leading the race.

Having made a strong start, the Nissan e.dams driver sustained continued pressure from Bird before running wide coming out of the chicane and wrecking his front wing and suspension.

With Bird now leading he never looked back, controlling the race until the last few laps when rookie Mahindra Racing driver Pascal Wehrlein closed in on him.

The young German was told that his team boss Dilbagh Gill would be happy with second place, but that didn’t stop Wehrlein attempting to take the lead while using his second energy boost.

He wasn’t able to squeeze by though, and his challenge ended when the team told him that he had to pull back to control battery temperatures.

Alexander Sims crossed the line behind the front two, but was demoted to seventh as he was given a post-race penalty for spinning Edorado Mortara earlier on.

This became a theme as several drivers who had got caught up in incidents during the race were demoted after the checkered flag, including Lucas di Grassi for hitting Jose Maria Lopez, and with Lopez himself penalised for exceeding the maximum energy usage.

This meant that Daniel Abt claimed Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s first podium of the season in third, with the unlucky Mortara behind him in fourth.

Robin Frijns was involved in some robust racing but managed to make it to the end in fifth, ahead of the Panasonic Jaguar Racing of Mitch Evans.

Sims was seventh, ahead of driver’s championship leader Jerome d’Ambrosio, who struggled after starting from the back and only finished in the points after the string of penalties.

It was a bad day for the other title contenders as well, with Antonio Felix da Costa having to eventually retire after Andre Lotterer ran into the back of him going into the chicane, with da Costa subsequently hitting Jean-Eric Vergne as a result.

It caused damage that would lead to both da Costa and Vergne retiring, and penalties for Lotterer left him down in thirteenth.

It meant it was DS Techeetah’s first non-points scoring finish since the Paris ePrix in 2017, which was also the last time Vergne failed to finish a race.

Stoffel Vandoorne and Oliver Rowland both failed to finish after running off line and hitting the wall, with the former causing a full course yellow after he left most of his front wing at the exit of turn four.

And Felipe Massa was also in the wars after he was squeezed into the wall by Rowland coming out of the last hairpin, causing suspension damage that would lead to him retiring.

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Formula E writer for TCF since 2015-16 and fascinated by all things electric.
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