Bird flies to Rome E-Prix victory

Sam Bird claimed his second victory of the Formula E season when he won Saturday’s Rome E-Prix to climb to second in the driver standings.

The DS Virgin Racing Team driver finished +0.970s ahead of second-placed Brazilian Lucas di Grassi (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport) while in third place +9.518s back was Germany’s Andre Lotterer (Techeetah).

Bird of Great Britain, who qualified second behind pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist, staying in second place for the first half of the race until Rosenqvist suffered a failure on his rear-left wheel after hitting one of the kerbs too hard, forcing him to retire from the race.

After that Bird moved into a healthy lead before he was reeled in, coming under pressure from Jaguar driver Mitch Evans and defending champion di Grassi of Audi.

Evans tried to overtake Bird on a few occasions but failed and was soon passed by the faster di Grassi, who demoted the Jaguar driver to third place.

For Bird, the second place battle gave him time to increase his lead and while di Grassi was able to close the gap to just nine-tenths of a second by the chequered flag, he could not get close enough to overtake for the victory.

Lotterer completed the podium positions after Evans hit the limit of his usable energy on the final lap, forcing him to slow down in order to make it to the finish ninth.

Audi’s Daniel Abt finished fourth ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, while Renault’s Sebastien Buemi finished sixth.

Jerome d’Ambrosio took seventh, Maro Engel finished eighth for Venturi with teammate Edoardo Mortara finishing 10th, the pair split by Evans at the finish.

The Formula E season continues with the Paris E-Prix in two weeks’ time.

Formula E Rome E-Prix – Race Results:

1. Sam Bird GBR DS Virgin Racing 33 laps
2. Lucas di Grassi BRA ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport + 0.970s
3. Andre Lotterer GER Techeetah + 9.518s
4. Daniel Abt GER ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport + 10.167s
5. Jean-Eric Vergne FRA Techeetah + 17.444s
6. Sebastien Buemi SWI Renault e.dams + 19.835s
7. Jerome d’Ambrosio BEL Dragon Racing + 24.379s
8. Maro Engel GER Venturi + 26.350s
9. Mitch Evans NZL Panasonic Jaguar Racing + 37.709s
10. Edoardo Mortara SUI Venturi + 40.739s
11. Antonio Felix da Costa POR Andretti + 42.680s
12. Oliver Turvey GBR NIO Formula E + 48.833s
13. Luca Filippi ITA NIO Formula E + 49.331s
14. Nicolas Prost FRA Renault e.dams + 1:13.880s
15. Tom Blomqvist GBR Andretti + 1:31.653s
16. Nick Heidfeld GER Mahindra + 1:42.772s
Ret. Jose Maria Lopez ARG Dragon Racing 29 laps
Ret. Felix Rosenqvist SWE Mahindra 22 laps
Ret. Nelson Piquet Jr. BRA Panasonic Jaguar Racing 18 laps
Ret. Alex Lynn GBR DS Virgin Racing 15 laps