Formula E: Bird Wins Despite Penalty in Hong Kong


Jean-Eric Vergne got away from the Race 1 pole ahead of Sam Bird and Oliver Turvey, who was able to make his way round the outside of Turn 1 to jump from 7th to 3rd. Behind him, a traffic jam formed.

Andre Lotterer tried to go round the outside of Nelson Piquet in Turn 4 but underestimated the steering lock of the car. He stopped just before the wall as Mitch Evans, Nico Prost and Edoardo Mortara piled into the back. The Red Flag was brought out for the very first time in Formula E’s history. All drivers returned to the pits and waited patiently for the FIA to give the clear to race.

After the Safety Car restart, Vergne held onto the lead after serious pressure from Bird in 2nd. Felix Rosenqvist was spun by FE newcomer Luca Filippi at Turn 1 leading to a drive through penalty for the Italian. Rosenqvist dropped outside of the top 10 to 14th.

It was revealed that Kamui Kobayashi, Daniel Abt and Fillippi were going to get extra power in their 2nd car as a result of Fanboost.

Sebastian Buemi and Lucas di Grassi battled early on, running 6th and 7th but both soon ran into trouble. Di Grassi was forced into the pits with a mechanical problem following the incident at the start of the race, where he switched to his second car. Buemi came to a halt around the hairpin as a result of his battery management system failing on his car. He later rejoined further down the field.

Turvey was facing issues as he didn’t have the pace to keep with Vergne and Bird at the start and was forced to hold off Abt and Nick Heidfeld until his car slowed.

Vergne had been able to hold Bird off for 20 laps until he was able to overtake into Turn 6. Stopping one lap earlier than Bird, Vergne got held up in traffic. Bird was able to push on for one more lap and then the Brit pulled into the pit. Despite locking up and hitting team personnel, he was able to jump out and get into the second car, reappearing ahead of Vergne.

Bird was given a drive through penalty for not stopping the car in the pit-box. Serving his penalty on lap 30, Bird amazingly appeared just ahead of Vergne and Heidfeld to stay in the lead.

Bird was able to sprint ahead until the chequered flag while Vergne and Heidfeld fought for 2nd.

Behind, positions chopped and changed in the dying laps. Piquet dived down the inside of Rosenqvist, who had made time within the pit-stop, at Turn 1. Rosenqvist was then overtaken by Daniel Abt on the rundown to turn 2. Antonio Felix da Costa also had a pop at Rosenqvist, overtaking the Swedish driver on his way to a 6th place finish.

Bird won by over 10 seconds. Maro Engel finished 4th but was given a time penalty for exceeding the power limit that dropped him to 14th. This moved everyone up a place resulting in Piquet claiming 4th on his Jaguar debut.

As for FE’s newcomers, Mortara scored points in an impressive race to 9th, 8th after Engel’s penalty. Filippi was 11th with Kobayashi 15th and Lotterer 16th while Neel Jani finished 19th and a lap down.