Hong Kong E-Prix: Bird wins but faces crash investigation

Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird won a fanatic ABB FIA race in Hong Kong ahead of Edoardo Mortara, but faces an investigation for late contact with long-time leader Andre Lotterer.

Hong Kong E-Prix: Bird wins but faces crash investigation

Lotterer had led the fifth race of the 2018/19 FE season since the eighth tour of what would go on to be a 36-lap race, when Bird lost the lead by sliding deep at the 90-degree right of Turn 2.

The duo the engaged in a tight battle for the lead for the rest of the race, which went through three safety car periods and a red flag.

At the final restart, Bird continued to pressure Lotterer and on what would be the penultimate lap they made contact going into Turn 2, with Bird nudging the DS Techeetah driver’s right rear tyre.

It looked as if Lotterer would hang on but as they approached the start of the final lap his right rear tyre punctured and he fell to the back of the order, gifting Bird the lead.

The event took place in greasy conditions after rain showers had hit Hong Kong throughout Sunday, although none fell during FE’s 50th race.

At the start, Oliver Rowland had rocketed off the line from second on the grid to take the lead from polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne on the run to the Turn 1 hairpin, while Bird shot around the outside of the approach to the right hander to move from seventh on the grid to fourth.

Bird then pressed Lotterer, who he had clipped as he slid into Turn 1, as the pack went into the Turns 3/4 chicane to move into third place.

He then caught Vandoorne at the start of the second lap and got alongside coming out of Turn 1, sealing second as they raced up the long straight and into Turn 2.

But the race was then halted when Felipe Nasr went into the barriers at the outside of Turn 2, and the Dragon driver’s stricken car was hit by Pascal Wehrlein and his Mahindra Racing teammate Jerome D’Ambrosio.

The incident put all three drivers out on the spot, and a full course yellow was initially called before it was upgraded to a full safety car and then a red flag, with Rowland leading the pack back to the pitlane.

When the race resumed, with the rest clock reset to just under 36-minutes remaining, most of the field took their first attack mode usage.

Rowland led for a lap before losing the lead to Bird when he appeared to lose drive coming out of the first corner.

That promoted Bird into the lead that he would hold for just a lap before he went deep at Turn 2 and set up his long chase of Lotterer, with the duo mirroring attack mode strategies by taking it for the second time when the race resumed following the second safety car.

That stoppage had been caused by HWA’s Vandoorne stopping with a suspected driveshaft problem at the exit of Turn 7.

A third safety car was called when Rowland stopped the same spot on lap 30. The Nissan e.dams driver had damage to the right-front and left rear of his car.

Mortara held off a late surge from di Grassi, who had the advantage of attack mode at that point to take his second podium in a row.

Robin Frijns finished fifth ahead of Daniel Abt, Felipe Massa, Mitch Evans and Gary Paffett, with Oliver Turvey and Antonio Felix da Costa rounding out the top 10.

Jean-Eric Vergne finished 13th after an eventful race that involved a near crash at Turn 1 early-on, and a clash with Tom Dillmann (who was 12th for NIO), for which the reigning champion was given a five-second penalty.

The other non-finishers were Sebastien Buemi and Alexander Sims, who retired in the pits after clipping the wall at Turn 5 late-on, and Nelson Piquet Jr.

Piquet stopped at the end of the first lap due to suspected damage to his front suspension.

Provisional race results:

shares
comments
Hong Kong E-Prix: Vandoorne scores maiden pole in wet qualifying

Previous article

Hong Kong E-Prix: Vandoorne scores maiden pole in wet qualifying

Next article

Bird penalised, loses Hong Kong E-Prix win

Bird penalised, loses Hong Kong E-Prix win
Load comments
The half-term report cards of each Formula E team in 2020-21 Prime

The half-term report cards of each Formula E team in 2020-21

In an eventful Formula E season, punctuated by rain and energy-conservation controversy, the 12 teams contesting the championship have endured many challenges in the opening seven races. Here's how they've got on across the first half of the season.

Formula E
May 26, 2021
How Formula E stood up to F1 comparisons in Monaco Prime

How Formula E stood up to F1 comparisons in Monaco

OPINION: It was no surprise to anybody that the laptimes achieved by Formula E cars on the full Monaco circuit were much slower than Formula 1. But perhaps the more relevant comparison was in the racing spectacle, where FE delivered in spades.

Formula E
May 12, 2021
How Monaco dealt Formula E a winning hand to cure its hangover Prime

How Monaco dealt Formula E a winning hand to cure its hangover

Formula E faced much criticism in the wake of its maligned Valencia event. In need of a turnaround, the series' first use of Monaco's iconic Formula 1 layout provided it with the injection of thrills required to clear the fog that had enveloped the paddock.

Formula E
May 11, 2021
Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent Prime

Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent

FIA president Jean Todt wanted more Formula E coverage in the media, and got his wish when the opening Valencia E-Prix proved farcical. Despite attempts to spin the race as teams failing to get their sums right, Formula E and its governing body cannot escape blame - especially when trying to get teams to commit long-term.

Formula E
Apr 27, 2021
How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem Prime

How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem

Formula E was under the microscope at Valencia, on its first visit to a permanent circuit. But after a mere nine drivers were left classified following Saturday's Valencia E-Prix, the electric championship once more faced criticism after rising energy deductions and miscalculations produced a farcical affair.

Formula E
Apr 25, 2021
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Prime

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Prime

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits.

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Prime

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons.

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021