23 Oct 20
22 Nov 14
Sam Bird cruised to victory at the second race of the season in Putrajaya ahead of championship-leader Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi.
The Virgin Racing driver crossed the line to pick up the full 25-points and clinch his maiden ePrix win.
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. 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.”
Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas di Grassi and e.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi both managed to fight their way through the field to stand on the podium despite starting at the back of the grid.
Di Grassi said: “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. 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.”
"I’m really happy I have to say," said Buemi. "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.
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.
Dragon Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio showed his reliance from last place on the grid to come home in fifth. D’Ambrosio qualified in the top-three only to be penalised for exceeding the maximum power usage.
Oriol Servia, who inherited pole position, made a good getaway to retain the lead at the start as Daniel Abt dropped back with what seemed to be a power issue.
The Qualcomm Safety Car was deployed on the opening lap to clean the debris from the track as Amlin Aguri’s Katherine Legge and Michela Cerruti (Trulli) collided. Legge looked to make a pass on the inside but lost the back end and caused Cerruti to spin.
Andretti racer Matthew Brabham clashed with Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld at the tight turn 10 hairpin sending the Formula E debutant into a spin.
Brabham’s team-mate Franck Montagny was in a feisty mood as he carved his way through the field but forced Heidfeld into the tyre barrier on the outside of turn five. The stricken Venturi brought out the safety car for a second time.
Abt make the most of the opportunity and pitted under the safety car in an attempt to run a long second stint. However, it was a gamble that didn’t pay off as he dropped to 10th place to pick up a solitary point.
He said: “I had some problems at the start which I’m not sure what it was, it seemed like a power issue and it didn’t kick in. I pitted in under the safety car which was a risky strategy and a bit of a gamble which unfortunately didn’t pay off.”
Mahindra’s Bruno Senna crashed heavily on the final lap in pursuit of Sebastien Buemi for the final podium spot. Senna said: “I saw Buemi and had an opportunity to get a podium but I made a mistake. I just went for it and got out on the marbles when I lost the car.”
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