Bird wins chaotic Round 1

DS Virgin’s Sam Bird wins the Hong Kong ePrix after a drive through penalty ahead of Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Mahindra’s Nick Heidfeld as Sebastian Buemi and Lucas di Grassi struggle.


Qualifying Result

1.Vergne  2.Bird  3.Heidfeld  4.Abt  5.Rosenqvist  6.Di Grassi  7.Turvey  8.Da Costa  9.Buemi  10.Piquet  11.D’Ambrosio  12.Lotterer  13.Kobayashi  14.Engel  15.Filippi  16.Lynn  17.Prost  18.Mortara  19.Evans  20.Jani


Vergne got away from pole ahead of Bird and Oliver Turvey, who was able to make his way round the outside of turn 1 to jump from 7th to 3rd. Behind, a traffic jam formed.

Andre Lotterer tried to go round the outside of Nelson Piquet of turn 4 but underestimated the steering lock of the car. He stopped just before the wall as Mitch Evans, Nico Prost and Edoardo Mortara piled into the back. The Red Flag was brought out and it marked the first time in Formula E history that it had come out. All drivers returned to the pits and waited patiently for the FIA to give the clear to race.

After the Safety Car restart, Vergne held onto the lead after serious pressure from Bird in 2nd. Felix Rosenqvist was spun by Formula E newcomer Luca Filippi at turn 1 in which the Italian was later given a drive through penalty. Rosenqvist dropped outside of the top 10 to 14th. It was revealed that Kamui Kobayashi, Daniel Abt and Filippi were going to get extra power in their 2nd car as a result of Fanboost.

Season 2 Champion and Reigning Champion, Sebastian Buemi and Lucas di Grassi battled hard early on, running 6th and 7th. But both ran into trouble. Di Grassi was forced into the pits with a mechanical problem following the incident at the start of the race, where he switched to his second car. Buemi came to a halt around the hairpin as a result of his battery management system failing on his car. He was able to re-join but dropped down the field.

Turvey also had problems. Turvey didn’t have the pace to keep with Vergne and Bird at the start and held off Daniel Abt and Nick Heidfeld. Until, his car slowed, similar to when his car slowed when he was leading the Mexican ePrix in Season 3.

Vergne had been able to hold off Bird for 20 laps until Bird was able to overtake into turn 6. Vergne stopped one lap earlier than Bird and got held up in traffic. Bird was able to push on for one more lap and then the Brit pulled into the pit. He looked-up and hit team personnel. He was able to jump out and get into the second car and reappear ahead of Vergne.

Bird was given a drive through penalty for not stopping the car in the pit-box. Serving his penalty on lap 30, Bird amazingly appeared just ahead of Vergne and Nick Heidfeld to stay in the lead. Bird was able to sprint ahead until the chequered flag while Vergne and Heidfeld fought “tooth and nail” for 2nd.

Behind, positions chopped and changed in the dying laps. Nelson Piquet dived down the inside of Rosenqvist, who had made time within the pit-stop, of turn 1. Rosenqvist was then overtaken by Daniel Abt on the rundown to turn 2. Antonio Felix da Costa also had a pop at Rosenqvist overtaking the Swedish driver down into turn 1 and up into 7th.

Bird won by over 10 seconds ahead of Vergne and Heidfeld. Maro Engel finished 4th but was given a time penalty for exceeding the power limit that dropped him to 14th. This moved everyone up a place resulting in Piquet claiming 4th on his Jaguar debut.

As for Formula E’s newcomers, Mortara scored points in an impressive race to 9th, 8th after Engel’s penalty. Filippi was 11th with Kamui Kobayashi 15th and Lotterer 16th while Neel Jani finished 19th and a lap down.

Race Result

1.Bird  2.Vergne  3.Heidfeld  4.Piquet  5.Abt  6.Da Costa  7.Mortara  8.Lynn  9.Prost  10.Filippi  11.Buemi  12.Evans  13.Engel  14.Rosenqvist*  15.Kobayashi  16.Turvey  17.Di Grassi  18.Jani  NC d’Ambrosio  DSQ Lotterer*

Rosenqvist* picked up a 22 second time penalty, in lieu of a drive-through, for exceeding the maximum race power output.

Lotterer* was disqualified for leaving his car in an unsafe mode in parc ferme.




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