Rome ePrix: Bird resists di Grassi in thrilling finish

Sam Bird scored his second victory of the 2017/18 Formula E season after resisting a spirited late charge by reigning champion Lucas di Grassi in the closing stages of an eventful inaugural Rome ePrix.

Rome ePrix: Bird resists di Grassi in thrilling finish

Poleman Felix Rosenqvist had been in control of the race from the outset, and held a narrow lead over Bird when he stopped on track on lap 22 of 33 after clouting the kerbs at the Turn 18/19 chicane and breaking his rear-left suspension.

That left Bird with a three-second advantage over Mitch Evans, but the Jaguar driver closed up to the race leader within a matter of laps, with Audi's di Grassi following the Kiwi to make it a three-way dice for honours in the closing laps.

Evans made a brave attempt to dive up the inside of Bird at Turn 9 with four laps to go, but the Briton managed to hang on and was able to stretch out a small advantage in the closing laps as Evans turned his attentions to defending from di Grassi and Andre Lotterer.

Two laps later, di Grassi picked off Evans for second at Turn 9, but ran out time to catch Bird, who hung on for a first race win since the Hong Kong season opener by a margin of 0.970s.

Di Grassi finished the race facing an investigation for his car swap procedure, but was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Video explainer: Mahindra powertrain...

Evans plummeted from third to ninth as he ran out of useable energy on the last lap, promoting Techeetah driver Lotterer to the final spot on the podium.

Daniel Abt was fourth in the second Audi, while Jean-Eric Vergne (Techeetah) limited the damage to his points lead in fifth place ahead of Sebastien Buemi (Renault e.dams).

Jerome d’Ambrosio (Dragon) rose from 18th on the grid to take seventh, ahead of Maro Engel (Venturi), with Edoardo Mortara (Venturi) rounding out the top 10 behind Evans.

Alex Lynn, who damaged his front wing on the opening lap after hitting Vergne, became the race's first retirement when he hit the wall at half-distance.

Nelson Piquet Jr (Jaguar) came to a stop in the pitlane after changing cars, while Jose Maria Lopez (Dragon) ground to a halt out on track late on having caused an earlier pile-up involving Nick Heidfeld's Mahindra and the two NIO cars of Luca Filippi and Oliver Turvey. 

Bird moves ahead of Rosenqvist into second in the championship with his win, 18 points behind Vergne.

Race results:

shares
comments
Da Costa penalised for Rome pitlane crash

Previous article

Da Costa penalised for Rome pitlane crash

Next article

New cameras triggered di Grassi pitstop investigation

New cameras triggered di Grassi pitstop investigation
Load comments
Why Audi was right and wrong in Formula E's loophole row Prime

Why Audi was right and wrong in Formula E's loophole row

OPINION: With Audi's Formula E exit imminent, it had nothing to lose in London by attempting to vault Lucas di Grassi into the lead by pitting him under the safety car. Scorn directed at the team for putting glory before ethics should instead be pointed at a rulebook that allowed such a move in the first place.

Formula E
Jul 28, 2021
Why Formula E's London return delivered anarchy in the UK Prime

Why Formula E's London return delivered anarchy in the UK

Formula E landed for a London E-Prix for the first time since 2016, at the indoor-outdoor circuit around the ExCeL. Featuring the birth of renewed title pushes, a long-awaited maiden win and the second race's controversy, the round proved to be an exhibition of the electric series' anarchic nature.

Formula E
Jul 26, 2021
Why consistency can't be relied upon for Formula E title success Prime

Why consistency can't be relied upon for Formula E title success

It's commonly upheld as the most straightforward method of racking up titles. But, due to the unique qualifying format used in Formula E, a consistent approach can actively work against a driver and make their life harder in races. So with four races to go, is now the time to ditch the tried-and-tested approach for a win-or-bust mentality?

Formula E
Jul 23, 2021
How Bird's crash recovery became Formula E's fairytale of New York Prime

How Bird's crash recovery became Formula E's fairytale of New York

After crashing in practice during the opening session at the New York City E-Prix, Sam Bird immediately had a recovery job on his hands. But the Jaguar driver rose through the order and secured victory in the second race - and with it, the championship lead. Here's how an Englishman in New York became top of the heap.

Formula E
Jul 12, 2021
Why Formula E is plotting a major change of philosophy Prime

Why Formula E is plotting a major change of philosophy

Formula E has become famed for its unpredictability, which can yield exciting races - but it can be argued that it robs the all-electric championship of a clear narrative and doesn't adequately reward the best drivers. The series wants to change that, and renew its philosophy ahead of the introduction of its next-generation car

Formula E
Jun 29, 2021
How Puebla gave Formula E's new points leader breathing space Prime

How Puebla gave Formula E's new points leader breathing space

With the usual Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez venue unavailable to Formula E, it visited the little Puebla circuit to keep its foot in the door in Mexico. A near-winner two years ago, Pascal Wehrlein looked in swaggering form throughout the weekend - but a breathless final encounter helped put Edoardo Mortara in the driving seat.

Formula E
Jun 21, 2021
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