Jaguar Racing managed its first double podium in Formula E in Round 3 at Rome's Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR and left the Eternal City top of the Teams' and Drivers' tables and firmly the championship's form team.
Jaguar Racing left Rome on Sunday atop the Teams' and Drivers' tables having eclipsed its entire Season 6 points haul in only the first four rounds of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Sam Bird led the charge for the British outfit as it secured a maiden double podium in Formula E in the Rome E-Prix Round 3, scything his way through the field from 10th to second spot with teammate Mitch Evans following up in third.
Bird sold the dummy to former teammate Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing) for perhaps the pick of his passes, before hounding and dispatching Mercedes-EQ's Stoffel Vandoorne for fourth spot with 10 minutes plus one lap left on the clock.
REPORT: The Rome E-Prix Round 3 in full
The Brit's always among the last of the late brakers, and the Jaguar man made it by Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) for third, too, with another late dive out of nowhere on Lap 19. That'd become a net second with Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) forced into retiring early from the lead with mechanical trouble.
Without the spell under the Safety Car that ensued, Bird felt the race win could have been on - nevertheless he was delighted with the result.
"It felt very comfortable cruising up to the back of the lead pack at will and we both picked our moments in getting through the field," said the 34-year-old. "It’s important not to lose too much time when overtaking. I had a couple of failed opportunities with the Porsches – I was in a Porsche sandwich, which made things quite difficult.
"Once I got past Pascal (Wehrlein), I could then make inroads into the pack out front. JEV (Jean-Eric Vergne) and Lucas (di Grassi) were fighting quite hard which meant it was easy to catch the back of them.
"It was a shame with the Safety Car at the end because it could’ve been fun but when you start in tenth and you finish second you have to say ‘wow!’ and a big congratulations to JEV."
"We work really well together and when we are around each other," added New Zealander Evans.
"It wasn’t an easy race to manage at all. The conditions weren’t easy and starting in the middle of the pack, you can easily get caught up in mess. I’m glad we started under the Safety Car as Turn 1 could’ve been tricky, but we executed a great race and our pace was extremely strong."
Though the team couldn't quite repeat its heroics in Round 4 on Sunday, Evans was still able to take home good points with sixth spot.
Bird and Mercedes' de Vries clashed at Turn 7 as the race boiled down into a one-lap shoot-out after a late spell under the Safety Car. Both ended up in the TecPro barriers and failed to finish but it wouldn't take the sheen off a landmark weekend for the team.
"In terms of raw performance, and the mechanical side of things, the car felt very strong – especially in the races," said Evans. "That went for all conditions too. We started off wet and ended fairly dry, then with drizzle again and we seemed to be able to cover guys off quite well."
Published on 13th April 2021