Sam Bird moved into the provisional lead of the Formula E drivers' championship after taking a controversial victory in Sunday's Hong Kong E-Prix following late contact with Andre Lotterer.

Envision Virgin driver Bird managed to rise from seventh place on the grid to take the lead early in the race following passes on Lotterer, Oliver Rowland and Stoffel Vandoorne, but slipped back behind Lotterer after a mistake at Turn 2 allowed the DS Techeetah driver to slip past.

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Lotterer was able to soak up race-long pressure from Bird, negotiating two uses of Attack Mode and two Safety Car periods before a final three-lap sprint to the flag that saw the pair run nose-to-tail.

Bird tapped the rear of Lotterer's car under braking into Turn 2 on the penultimate lap of the race, and while he was initially unable to get past, he pulled clear when the Techeetah driver began to slow with diffuser damage.

Bird managed to retain the lead of the race until the chequered flag to take his second win of the season and pull out a provisional 18-point lead in the drivers' standings, but is under investigation for the incident. Lotterer faded to 14th, finishing 25 seconds behind Bird.

Edoardo Mortara took his second straight podium finish in Hong Kong after rising to second late on for Venturi, having held off Audi's Lucas di Grassi in the final stages of the race, leaving the Brazilian to settle for third place.

Robin Frijns finished fourth for Virgin, allowing the team to pull clear in the teams' championship as closest rival Mahindra suffered a double DNF on the second lap when Pascal Wehrlein and Jerome d'Ambrosio crashed out with Felipe Nasr, resulting in a red flag.

Daniel Abt picked up fifth place for Audi ahead of Felipe Massa in the second Venturi, while Mitch Evans managed to grab P7 for Jaguar after a late pass on Gary Paffett. Paffett nevertheless managed to score his first Formula E points for HWA Racelab, finishing as its sole scorer as pole-sitting teammate Stoffel Vandoorne retired when running P3 due to a driveshaft issue.

Oliver Turvey and Antonio Felix da Costa both recovered from poor qualifying outings to score points in ninth and 10th respectively ahead of Jose Maria Lopez and Tom Dillmann.

Defending Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne had an incident-packed race that ended with him finishing 13th, only beating Lotterer in a race filled with retirements.

Nissan suffered its second straight double DNF as early leader Rowland and teammate Sebastien Buemi both retired. Alexander Sims was forced to pull out of the race early on, while Nelson Piquet Jr. did not even complete a lap for Jaguar before parking his car and retiring.

The Formula E season continues with the Sanya E-Prix on March 24.

 

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