Bird Wins Season Opening Hong Kong ePrix Despite Penalty
DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird got his 2017 FIA Formula E season off to a winning start as the Englishman took victory in the Hong Kong ePrix.
Bird’s win was made all the more special as he took victory despite been handed a penalty for not stopping at his allocated pit box during the mid race car swap. Bird finished the race just ahead of ex-Toro Rosso Formula One driver Jean Eric Vergne with Germany’s Nick Heidfield completing the podium for Mahindra Racing.
Speaking about his victory, Bird commented by saying:
That was a really crazy race, I’m still trying to process what happened really. It’s unreal for me winning after a driving-through penalty in Formula E. I’d like to thank the team, we knew it would be tough this year with lots of close competition. When I came out the pits there was a TECHEETAH in front of me and thought it was JEV, so I was pushing hard to catch him! It turned out I was in the lead and I never in a million years expected that.
Speaking following his race, Jean Eric Vergne commented by saying:
This race was by far my most difficult race – I had no radio communication, I spoke to my engineer only twice in the race and I had no regen. So, if this morning somebody told me I’d have these issues, I wouldn’t even take the start of the race. To finish second off the back of this is almost like a victory to us. We’re hoping to fix things overnight and come back stronger tomorrow.
Nick Heidfield was not happy despite his third place finish. The former F1 driver commented by saying:
“It’s probably one of the third places I’m least happy about,” said Heidfeld. “Hopefully this changes in the next couple of days. The team has done a good job and to finish on the podium is always a good result, and you have to focus on collecting the points for the season. JEV said he had a lot of problems – I tried hard to overtake him, but I’m not that happy as I thought it was too much.”
Reigning champion Lucas Di Grassi failed to score points having been forced to make an early car switch after sustaining damage to his right rear suspension. Sebastian Buemi also failed to score after coming to a stop on track with a technical issue.
The second race in the ePrix double header takes place tomorrow.