Sam Bird takes Formula E win
Sam Bird takes Formula E win
British ace Sam Bird triumphed in the second round of the FIA Formula E Championship on the streets of Putrajaya in Malaysia, leading home championship leader and Audi FIA WEC driver Lucas di Grassi.
Bird took the lead with a pass on IndyCar ace and pole winner Oriol Servia and stormed home to take the full 25 points as winner.
Bird dedicated his win to former GP2 team-mate Jules Bianchi, who was severely injured in the Japanese Grand Prix:
“I have to dedicate this win to a good friend of mine who is very ill. It’s very sad what’s happened to him and this one is for Jules,” Bird said.
“The weekend went really well, we were quick from the first outing and we were quickest in practice. Qualifying didn’t quite go our way as I think we were not in the best group for doing a fast lap time but we put that right in the race.
“The first stint I was able to get a very good gap which meant we could take it easy and not make any silly mistakes, do some lift and coasting, and coast to the finish.”
Lucas di Grassi and recently crowned FIA WEC LM P1 champion Sebastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault) both managed to fight their way through the field to stand on the podium despite starting at the back of the grid.
“For sure this was beyond my expectations. Everyone is here to win, everyone is pushing to the limit as this track has proven once and for all this car is very tricky to drive even if you have done all the testing,” di Grassi said.
“The tiniest margin can ruin your whole weekend and that’s what happened in qualifying from my side and then to come all the way from the back of the grid on a street track to second is an amazing feeling. I felt I had a much better race than in Beijing where I won.”
Buemi and Toyota teammate Anthony Davidson were crown as FIA WEC champions last weekend in Bahrain.
“I’m really happy I have to say,” said Buemi, who lined up 20th.
“We were really good in testing and then when we came to the first race it just didn’t go well. It went bad today in the qualifying which is quite strange, we did some set-up changes that didn’t work so well but I felt the strongest in this car and finished third.”
Bird’s win means he moves up to second place in the championship standings just three points behind Beijing race-winner di Grassi.
The youngest driver in the race, American-born Matthew Brabham came home at the end of the lead lap after an opening lap spin under brakes while challenging Nick Heidfeld. He later was delayed after a clash with Bruno Senna.
Nicolas Prost continued the strong form he showed in qualifying to finish fourth. The Frenchman started from 11th position after carrying over a 10-place grid penalty for causing an avoidable collision in Beijing.
Oriol Servia, who inherited pole position, made a good getaway to retain the lead at the start but was soon overtaken by Bird, who pulled off a well-judged move before streaking away to victory.
There were mixed fortunes for the FanBoost winners. Amlin Aguri’s Katherine Legge was involved in a first-lap tussle with Michela Cerruti that effectively ended her hopes. Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld crashed out of the race while battling with Andretti’s Franck Montagny – this was the second crash in a row for Heidfeld after finishing upside down in China after a last lap clash with Prost.
FIA Formula E Championship – Putrajaya ePrix (Rd 2) – Results:
1. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, 51:11.979
2. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +4.175s
3. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, +5.739s
4. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +9.552s
5. Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +13.722s
6. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +17.158s
7. Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing, +18.621s
8. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +19.926s
9. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +20.053s
10. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +45.663s
11. Ho-Pin Tung, China Racing, +55.833s
12. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +56.626s
13. Matthew Brabham, Andretti, +1:05.036s
14. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +1 lap
15. Franck Montagny, Andretti, +1 lap (penalty)
16. Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri, +3 laps (penalty)
17. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +3 laps (penalty)
18. Nelson Piquet Jr, China Racing, DNF
19. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, DNF
Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, excluded (penalty)