Bird wins first round of the New York ePrix
The DS Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird won the Race 1 of the Formula E New York ePrix what is his first win of the season and 4th in his Formula E career. This also was the first ever automobile race in New York what makes this event very special in the history of motorsport.
Alex Lynn surprised on his debut in the series by taking the pole position. The British driver who replaces Jose Maria Lopez in the seat of DS Virgin Racing car beat the more experienced colleagues and grabbed the best starting position. Another small surprise was Daniel Abt’s 2nd place while Jean-Eric Vergne and Sam Bird occupied the second starting row.
Qualifying was disappointing for the title contender Lucas Di Grassi who started from P10. The Renault e.Dams also did below the expectations. Nico Prost started from the 9th place while Pierre Gasly, who was brought in as a replacement for the championship leader Sebastien Buemi, started the first race of the weekend from the penultimate position.
The Audi driver Abt took the lead at the very tight Turn 1 while Bird and Vergne switched their positions. Several accidents had happened during the opening lap. Prost dropped to the last place while Mitch Evans was forced to retire. On lap 10 Bird took P2 from Lynn and put Abt under the huge pressure. One who also did a good job at the moment was Nick Heidfeld who moved up to the 4th position.
Finally, on lap 16 Bird was able to overtake Abt and soon after Heidfeld progressed to the 3rd, profiting from Lynn’s inexperience. Sadly, Alex’s fairy tale ended just after the pit stop due to the broken drive shaft. Nevertheless, the standings at the top changed after the mandatory pit stop. Bird remained the race leader but Vergne now was his closest rival. Abt dropped to the 3rd with Stephane Sarrazin, Felix Rosenqvist, Di Grassi, and Heidfeld behind him.
Rosenqvist did a big mistake on lap 35 and damaged his car badly. He had to pit for the wing change and dropped to the back of the grid. Another misery for the Mahindra team was Heidfeld’s retirement on the following lap due to car failure. With 5 laps to go, the safety car was deployed.
After the restart only two laps remained for racing and the biggest loser was Daniel Abt. He made a huge mistake on the last lap allowing his teammate to move up to the 4th position. Bird won the race in front of two Techeetah drivers – Vergne and Sarrazin. Loic Duval took the 5th position while the rest of the points were scored by Oliver Turvey, Pierre Gasly, Nico Prost, Robin Frijns, and Adam Carroll.
The Race 2 of the FIA Formula E Championship New York ePrix will go on Sunday.
Photo: Formula E twitter