Sam Bird took full advantage of a costly error from Sebastien Buemi to score his and Envision Virgin's first win of the 2018/19 FIA Formula E season in Santiago. 

Bird, who started fourth on the grid in Chile, made early moves on Daniel Abt and Pascal Wehrlein before chasing down race-leader Buemi, who had looked primed to end a two-season wait for victory after inheriting pole position following Lucas di Grassi’s exclusion.

Buemi had controlled the first half of the race, but a mistake under pressure from Bird sent the Nissan e.dams driver into the wall for the second time in the same day. Despite managing to crawl back to the pits, Buemi was forced into retirement with heavy front suspension damage.

Formula E Santiago E-Prix - Race In 60 Seconds

CrashTV: 
Video Thumbnail: 

That promoted Bird into a race lead which he refused to relinquish, as the Briton went on to fend off a late charge from Wehrlein to claim his first victory since last year’s Rome E-Prix. 

Wehrlein capped off an impressive day in just his second FE outing to secure Mahindra’s third straight podium finish of the season and the ex-Formula 1 driver’s first rostrum appearance, despite battling late overheating issues.

BMW-Andretti driver and fellow FE rookie Alexander Sims finished third on the road but was demoted to seventh following a post-race time penalty for causing a collision, which instead promoted Audi’s Daniel Abt into third. 

Edoardo Mortara finished fourth to seal Venturi’s best result of the season, with Robin Frijns making up 10 places on his way to taking fifth, the pair having almost touched while battling for position in the closing stages.

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans continued his points-scoring start to season five in sixth place, ahead of Sims, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Oliver Turvey and Jose Maria Lopez,  who rounded out the top 10 for Dragon after getting slapped with a post-race penalty. 

Outside of the points came season one champion Nelson Piquet Jr, the recovering Audi of di Grassi, Andre Lotterer and Gary Paffett as only 14 drivers made it to the chequered flag.

Early championship contenders Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa both retired after collisions, while Stoffel Vandoorne saw his hopes of a maiden pointsfinish in Formula E end after crashing out following a mistake in the Attack Mode zone.

Maximilian Gunther, Felipe Massa and Tom Dillmann were the other non-finishers in Santiago.

After becoming the third different winner from the opening three rounds of season five and following a post-race penalty for d'Ambrosio, Bird has now moved to the top of the drivers' standings. In the teams' championship, Virgin holds the advantage over Mahindra.

The 2018/19 Formula E season continues with the Mexico City E-Prix on February 16.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...