Sam Bird is the second driver to win a double-header Formula E event. In both races in New York, the driver for DS Virgin Racing had to gain positions to be able to control the pace, beating Techeetah drivers on Saturday while he kept both Mahindra racers behind him on Sunday.
Bird was in the first race accompanied on the podium by Techeetah drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Stéphane Sarrazin. On Saturday, the British driver first overtook polesitter Alex Lynn and then was able to pass race leader Daniel Abt. At first Bird was set to be joined Abt and Nick Heidfeld to share champagne, but both German drivers were due to car troubles forced to retire.
Bird took pole position for the Sunday race, but was passed by Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist at the start. Eleven laps passed by before the DS Virgin driver took over and directly gained a second advantage over both Rosenqvist and Mahindra team mate Heidfeld who had positioned himself in third. Bird’s win only became uncertain when a full course yellow was announced after Lynn stranded his car. A majority of the drivers opted for the car swap, but Bird continued for another lap. He was just time to complete his pit stop and rejoined in front of the Mahindra drivers before the green flag was waived.
Title rival Lucas di Grassi had hoped to score more points in New York while championship leader Sébastien Buemi was absent due to WEC commitments at the Nürburgring. The Brazilian grabbed a fourth place on Saturday while finishing fifth on Sunday. In race two he was a bit luckier than Abt who was hit multiple times in the opening lap and had no chance to take revenge.
Pierry Gasly, who was standing in for Buemi, left a good impression. The Frenchman recovered from a mistake on Saturday, racing from 19th on the grid to a seventh place and on Sunday he almost finished on the podium. He crossed the line in fourth, but not without damage. In the last corner he and Heidfeld made contact after the Renault e.dams driver was sent into the barriers. But Gasly had enough speed to make it to the checkered flag.
— FIA Formula E (@FIAformulaE) July 16, 2017
With the final two races in Montreal to go, Buemi still leads the championship with 157 points. Di Grassi is only ten points down to the Swiss driver. Rosenqvist is third, having scored 104 points.