While Jean-Éric Vergne secured his first points for DS Virgin Racing, team mate Sam Bird wasn’t able to convert a strong performance into a top five finish at the FIA Formula E Punta del Este ePrix.
Having started from third on the grid, Sam Bird was looking like he would again be in contention for a strong points finish, quickly overtaking Loïc Duval going into the first corner. A battery issue, however, after the changeover on Lap 19 saw his race cut short.
“In the first half of the race, things felt really good and it was going really well. We showed a good turn of pace and I think there’s lots of positive signs to suggest that we can be challenging again in Buenos Aires,” said Bird, who emphasised the positive results. “Like in Malaysia, I must give a lot of credit to the team, who put in a huge amount of work to repair the car between free practice one and the race after I hit the wall.”
From last to points
Starting at the back of the grid after a frustrating qualifying session, which saw Vergne blocked in sector three, the Frenchman made up ground on those ahead of him and headed into the halfway stage of the race having made up five places. After successfully winning the Fanboost vote, the 25-year old was able to use the extra 100KJ of power gained, following the changeover, to overtake Stephane Sarrazin on lap 26 and set his sights on Nelson Piquet Jr.
A scintillating battle ensued over the final half a dozen laps as Vergne went wheel-to-wheel with the Brazilian, he was able to pass his spinning rival on the penultimate lap. With Daniel Abt now in his sights, Vergne and his DSV-01 made up another position on the final lap to secure his first points finish with DS Virgin Racing.
Speaking about his race, Vergne said: “I’m really pleased with my race and don’t think it could have gone much better after starting at the back of the grid. I drove hard and had a lot of fun with what was in front of me. It was a great effort from the team. I’d also like to say a special thank you to all the fans that helped me win Fanboost, which made a real difference during the race.”