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Evans claims “aggressive” Bird should leave more room

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Nov 23, 2019, 6:28 PM

Jaguar driver Mitch Evans reckons Sam Bird should have left more room in their Turn 4 clash in the second Formula E race at Diriyah.

Evans attempted to make a lunge on Bird after the Envision Virgin driver was caught off-line trying to pass Lucas di Grassi ahead – who had just been cleared by Antonio Felix da Costa. The former duo then clashed, with Bird drifting into the outside wall, and Evans later receiving a drive-through penalty as the FIA deemed him at fault for the incident.

Pascal Wehrlein then collected Bird shortly after, putting the Brit out of the race and triggering the first safety car of the race.

Suggesting that Bird was equally at fault, Evans disagreed with the punishment levied upon him having felt he was sufficiently alongside.

“When Antonio attacked Lucas, things kicked off massively.” Evans told Motorsport.com. “Sam opted to go for trying to get the sort of switchback on Lucas at [Turn] 1 for [Turn] 2, which is never really going to work, there was a hole there so I went for it. I felt like I was far enough alongside him and into Turn 4, okay it's that awkward corner and it's not a normal passing opportunity but I had overlap. 

“I don't think he gave me enough room, and then probably both of us would got through there fine. It'd have been tight, but he knew that if he gave me too much room he would have been in the dust. So he opted to go for the, let's say the more aggressive sort of approach, expecting me to back out of it, but I thought I was I thought I was alongside enough to stay there.”

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Bird suggested that while nobody was ultimately to blame, he felt that Evans could have backed out from the move at Turn 4.

“I haven't watched it back,” he told Motorsport.com. “We've had a chat. We agree on some things, we disagree on some things - I think that you can argue it probably both ways. I feel like I was ahead into a corner where you can't overtake, I was right behind Lucas literally on Lucas' gearbox.

“I get that he was down the inside a little bit, but I feel like he had the opportunity to back out of it whereas I didn't. Anyway, I don't think you can really put blame on anybody, it's just unfortunate."

Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE06, car after crashing

Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE06, car after crashing

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

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About this article

Series Formula E
Event Diriyah E-prix II
Drivers Sam Bird , Mitch Evans
Author Jake Boxall-Legge