Sam Bird has won the first race of the new Formula E season. In Hong Kong the British DS Virgin driver beat rival Jean-Eric Vergne and kept the lead after serving a drive through penalty for a pitstop error.

Bird was right behind polesitter Vergne after the start. The race got interrupted shortly after that by a red flag when André Lotterer got stranded in the chicane and held up several drivers.

It took a bit more than 30 minutes before the race restarted behind the safety car as race control had to figure out the starting positions. Several drivers hadn’t completed a first lap. After that was settled, Vergne defended his position but Bird was putting up the pressure. Meanwhile Lucas di Grassi tried to overtake his team mate Daniel Abt, but failed and was attacked by Sebastien Buemi. They touched, but could continue. Abt moved up one spot when Heidfeld failed to overtake Oliver Turvey for third.

Di Grassi and Turvey – who made a brilliant start from seventh to third – lost their sight on a top classification. First, the Audi driver went to the pits earlier than usual with damage to the rear of the car, he probably suffered when trying to overtake Abt. Turvey changed cars one lap later.

Vergne and Bird realised a gap of eight seconds when they battled for the lead. The DS Virgin driver got past his rival just before Vergne made the car swap. Bird followed one lap later but didn’t enter the pit tent and almost hit another person standing at the side of the garage. Race control handed out a drive through penalty for the incident Bird said it was caused due to a lack of grip in the pit lane.


Once served, Bird just got ahead of Vergne who was battling with Heidfeld who regained third after the car swap. It wasn’t enough to get past the Frenchman and finished third behind Vergne. Bird won with quite a margin.

Nelson Piquet Jr. drove some powerful final laps and was classified fourth after finishing fifth. Maro Engel lost his fourth position due to exceeding power usage. Felix Rosenqvist, who experienced an eventful first half of the race, was set to take this spot but was also overtaken by Abt and Antonio Felix da Costa. Edoardo Mortara ended the race in eight, in front of Alex Lynn and Nico Prost.

Renault’s title challenger Sébastien Buemi was running in the top six before he came to a short stop after the car swap and didn’t make it to the points. Di Gassi lost a lot of time due to the early pitstop.

The second race in Hong Kong is being held on Sunday.

https://twitter.com/FIAFormulaE/status/936873760442916865

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Tim is co-founder of ElectricAutosport.com and works in international motorsport. He found his passion for sustainable racing by joining world’s first competition for hydrogen electric vehicles in 2008. He does not doubt on the possibility of a break through of electric racing. And that deserves a platform to keep up to date and to interact. Tim operates on behalf of Formula Blue Media.

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