Sam Bird has dominated the first race of FIA Formula E 2017-2018 season in Hong Kong ePrix. British driver was unbeatable today and won after serve a drive-through penalty. Pole sitter, Jean-Eric Vergne and Nick Heidfeld completes the podium.
The 2017-2018 FIA Formula E season started with the first ever red-flag in series history, due to a contact between Nelson Piquet (Jaguar Racing) and André Lotterer (Techeetah). Lotterer find himself stopped at the first chicane and caused the stop of Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing), Nicolas Prost (Renault e.dams), Edoardo Mortara (Venturi Racing) and Neel Jani (Dragon Racing).
Meanwhile, Jean-Eric Vergne (Techeetah) kept the lead of the race ahead of Sam Bird (DS Virgin) and Oliver Turvey (NIO) who started from 7th place.
The race re-started under safety car conditions for one lap, as green flag returned on lap 4. Immediately, Lucas Di Grassi (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport) tried the move by the outside of turn 2 to his teammate Daniel Abt, and later on he was pressured by Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.dams).
In the same moment, Luca Filippi (NIO) touched Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra Racing) who spun. The Italian driver was punished for that with a drive-through penalty. André Lotterer also got a drive-through penalty for cutting the chicane.
On lap 9, Heidfeld tried to overtake Turvey for third position, but the German saw how his compatriot, Daniel Abt benefited from the move to take fourth place.
On lap 16, the champion, Lucas Di Grassi was the first to join the pits. The Brazilian tried to change the rear tire due to a damage, but he finally had to do a car change. Also on trouble was Turvey who lost car energy and had to change the car prematurely.
Up in front, Vergne lost the lead of the race after 20 laps, Sam Bird overtook the Frenchman nicely. And then he decided to join the pit lane for a car change. Bird immediately reacted to keep the lead and joined the pits a lap later, but when he was about to put his car into the garage he lock-up and crashed into team personnel, despite that he managed to keep the lead but he was penalized with a drive-through penalty which didn’t make him lose the lead of the race.
After all pit-stop sequence, Sam Bird was in the lead 7 seconds in front of Vergne and Hedifeld. Then it was Maro Engel (Venturi), Piquet and Rosenqvist who were the ones who most position gained.
In the final stages of the race, Rosenqvist overtook Piquet and he tried to do the same with Engel, but the Swede could overtake the German and got passed in the final two laps by Piquet, Abt and Antonio Felix Da Costa (Andretti Autosport) due to lack of energy.
Finally, it was a complete domination by Sam Bird who after 43 laps crossed the finish line in first position, 11 seconds in front of Vergne and Heidfeld. Season 1 champion, Nelson Piquet was fourth ahead of Daniel Abt.
After the race Maro Engel got a penalty due surpass the maximum of energy consumption, this make him lose the fourth place and the points position.
|1||Sam Bird||GBR||DS Virgin Racing||43 LAPS|
|3||Nick Heidfled||DEU||Mahindra Racing||12,465|
|4||Nelson Piquet||BRA||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||15,324|
|5||Daniel Abt||DEU||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||17,205|
|6||Antonio Felix da Costa||POR||Andretti Formula E||18,083|
|7||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Mahindra Racing||19,174|
|8||Edoardo Mortara||SWI||Venturi Formula E Team||19,797|
|9||Alex Lynn||GBR||DS Virgin Racing||20,904|
|10||Nicolas Prost||FRA||Renault e.dams||24,785|
|11||Luca Filippi||ITA||NIO Formula E Team||25,5|
|12||Sébastien Buemi||SWI||Renault e.dams||26,202|
|13||Mitch Evans||NZL||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||34,871|
|14||Maro Engel||DEU||Venturi Formula E Team||35,752|
|15||Kamui Kobayashi||JAP||Andretti Formula E||48,422|
|17||Oliver Turvey||GBR||NIO Formula E Team||1 Lap|
|18||Lucas Di Grassi||BRA||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1 Lap|
|19||Neel Jani||SWI||Dragon Racing||1 Lap|
|20||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||BEL||Dragon Racing||Not Classified|