Formula E

Mortara wins after Bird gets post-race penalty

2 Mins read
Credit: Venturi

Edorado Mortara took his maiden win in Formula E after Sam Bird received a five-second post-race penalty for hitting Andre Lotterer on the penultimate lap.

Bird and Lotterer has been locked in a titanic battle for the majority of the race, with the German taking the initial advantage after Bird locked up into turn two.

From there the two raced away from the rest of the field with Bird glued to the rear of the DS Techeetah.

They were pegged back after two safety car periods, but despite being warned by his team not to take any risks, Bird made a late lunge at Lotterer into turn two.

Lotterer successfully blocked the move, but the DS Virgin Racing car slid into his right rear tyre and caused a puncture that robbed him of a first race win in the series.

Lotterer called the move ‘disgusting’ after the race, and after two hours of deliberation the race stewards chose to penalise Bird and move him down to sixth place.

This meant that Mortara was promoted to first place, earning him his first victory in the series and making it five winners from the first five races of this year’s championship.

And it was a hard-earned victory for the Swiss-Italian driver on a track that last year saw him throw away a victory when he was comfortably leading.

Lucas di Grassi had piled pressure on the Venturi driver for the majority of the race but was unable to find a way past, di Grassi potentially taking into account that several of the championship leaders had already dropped out.

Behind them Robin Frijns was promoted to his first Formula E podium since 2015, although he too had a controversial race after he made contact with Sebastien Buemi earlier on in the race when trying to pass him.

The contact caused damage to Buemi’s suspension and meant that he had to immediately retire, although Frijns avoided a penalty for the incident.

Daniel Abt suffered damage to his floor after an incident with Oliver Rowland but was able to continue and he came home in fourth ahead of the other Venturi car of Felipe Massa.

Mitch Evans made a great start from down the grid and then benefited from several cars in front of him dropping out as he finished in seventh.

It was a poor race for HWA Racelab though, especially after their strong qualifying, with Gary Paffett getting the only points for the team in eighth place.

He had been running in the top five though before slipping down the order, and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne had been in the podium places before a driveshaft issue forced him out of the race altogether with his stricken car causing a safety car.

Nissan e.dams will be equally disappointed as they left Hong Kong pointless after Rowland joined Buemi on the list of retirees when he hit the wall with his rear left in the closing laps.

Rowland had led early on as well but slowed coming out of the first hairpin, with the Brit explaining afterwards that he accidentally pressed the speed limiter button for a full course yellow after he was tapped from behind by Bird.

But it was Mahindra Racing who had the worst race of all in Hong Kong.

Having led both championships going into the race they suffered a double retirement at the same corner, after the GEOX Dragon Racing car of Felipe Nasr slid into the wall in front of them.

It meant that Pascal Wehrlein and Jerome d’Ambrosio didn’t have time to react as they both broke their suspension on his stricken car.

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