Formula E: Season-opening win for Sam Bird, podiums for Porsche, Mercedes
Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird scored his ninth Formula E victory in a career by winning the Diriyah ePrix in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, the season-opening race of the sixth season of the first global electric racing championship.
Both Porsche Formula E Team and Mercedes Formula E Team reached podium places in their respective debuts in the series, with Andre Lotterer (Porsche) taking the second place and Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes) finishing third. It was a triple podium triumph for German manufacturers in the first race of the season as Virgin Racing is using Audi powertrains.
Alexander Sims gave the pole position to another German manufacturer, BMW i Andretti Motorsport, but he didn’t manage to convert it into victory, finishing just in the eighth place. Just five minutes into the race, Nissan e.dams driver and former champion Sebastien Buemi stopped on track, retiring from the race. Defending champion Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah) retired with 17 minutes left with the damaged front wheel of his car.
In the closing quarter of the race, the leader Alex Sims lost two places in a couple of seconds, first to Vandoorne and then immediately to Bird. Later he dropped far behind to P8. Sam Bird made a decisive move against Vandoorne with ten minutes remaining.
When Daniel Abt (Audi) stopped on track following his collision with Antonio Felix da Costa (BMW), the Safety Car was deployed with three minutes on the clock. The green flag was out with one minute remaining and there were no changes on the top.
Photos: Formula E,