Bird blasts "mobile chicane" Vergne after Paris battle

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Bird blasts
Sam Smith
By: Sam Smith
Apr 23, 2016, 5:44 PM

DS Virgin's Sam Bird voiced his frustrations after a wild battle for second place with teammate Jean-Eric Vergne that punctuated his Paris ePrix.

Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team
Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing
Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing
Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing
Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing

The pair first clashed at Turn 2 on the opening lap after Vergne made a move on his English teammate, who had suffered a poor start from pole position.

The contact at the exit of the corner saw a small amount of damage inflicted on Bird’s DS Virgin car.

More controversy followed as Bird looked for a way past Vergne at the Turn 3 and 4 complex later in the first stint, resulting in damage to Bird’s wing and also to Vergne’s right sidepod.

After the race, Bird was in no doubt that the Frenchman’s defending was overly robust.

“There are a few occasions when I think [Vergne] forgets he has a teammate,” Bird told Motorsport.com. “I felt like I was much quicker than him. He was a mobile chicane. “

Bird also voiced his opinion about potential team orders, especially considering that, pre-Paris, he had outscored Vergne significantly in the championship points table – 71 points to six.

“Yes, [the points were] in my mind the whole time,” said Bird. “I didn’t request anything [on the radio] and it is his home race, which has to be considered, but there is defending and then there is defending like that. I’m looking forward to the debrief!”

From Vergne’s point of view, the Parisian stated he was “surprised at the contact and Bird’s aggressiveness.”

DS Virgin considered team orders

DS Virgin Racing team principal Alex Tai admitted after the race that the team had thought about making a call to Vergne at the end of the first stint to release Bird into second position.

“There was a point in the race before the pitstop and where Sam had more energy that it might have been better for the team to release Sam,” Tai told Motorsport.com.

“But it is very difficult to ask a competitive driver like Jean-Eric in his home race to do something. The final answer was to ask both guys to hold position. The opportunity had passed.

"We will wait for the dust to settle and then we’ll debrief and see what everyone has to say.”

Bird ultimately made an error in the final phase of the race when he locked up and lost three positions while spin-turning his car around in the escape road.

“I locked the rears, the axle locked solid and I went straight on, so I turned it around as quickly as possible but lost three places,” he confirmed.

“11 points is ok, but it is always nice to home with some silverware. The good thing though was that as a team we were competitive all weekend at a very important race.”

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About this article

Series Formula E
Event Paris ePrix
Location Streets of Paris
Drivers Sam Bird , Jean-Eric Vergne
Teams Virgin Racing
Author Sam Smith
Article type Breaking news