Bird victorious in Formula E season opener

Mat Coch


Saturday 23rd November, 2019 - 7:20am


Sam Bird won the Diriyah E-Prix

Sam Bird has claimed victory in the opening race of the 2019/20 Formula E Championship at the Diriyah E-Prix.

The Englishman rose through the field, seizing top spot three laps before the race was suspended following a late clash between Christian Abt and Antonio Felix da Costa.

Alexander Sims started from pole, moving into an early lead, followed by the Mercedes duo of Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries in the German marque’s maiden Formula E appearance.

Further back Bird began his charge forward, challenging Edoardo Mortara for fourth in the opening laps.

He made his move on lap nine, activating Attack Mode to initially drop to sixth before moving to fourth on Lap 11.

He then ran with the two Mercedes drivers, who in turn pursued race leader Sims.

On Lap 20 Bird used the Attack Mode to move up to third after putting a move on De Vries at Turn 18.

A lap later, Sims and Vandoorne made contact, running wide at Turn 18 and allowing Bird through to second place.

Vandoorne held down the lead until Lap 27 when Bird moved though, again at Turn 18.

The Mercedes driver tried to respond, activating the Attack Zone which saw him drop behind Andre Lotterer, who’d climbed from seventh on the grid.

However, a clash between Abt and Da Costa saw the race interrupted, trapping Vandoorne in third.

At the restart on Lap 32 Bird was able to open a 1.3 second advantage in the two lap sprint to the flag, with Porsche’s Lotterer holding on for second and Vandoorne third.

Together with Mercedes, it was also Porsche’s maiden appearance in the category, the two automotive brands claiming podiums on debut.

The second race of the 2019/20 campaign takes pace on Saturday afternoon local time as part of a double-header opening weekend.

Race results: Race 1, Diriyah

Pos Driver Team Laps Race time
1 S. BIRD Envision Virgin Racing 34 46:17.371
2 A. LOTTERER TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 34 46:18.690
3 S. VANDOORNE Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team 34 46:19.043
4 O. ROWLAND Nissan e.dams 34 46:19.315
5 R. FRIJNS Envision Virgin Racing 34 46:21.354
6 N. DE VRIES Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team 34 46:21.931
7 E. MORTARA ROKiT Venturi Racing 34 46:22.493
8 A. SIMS BMW i Andretti Motorsport 34 46:23.086
9 J. D’AMBROSIO Mahindra Racing 34 46:23.999
10 M. EVANS Panasonic Jaguar Racing 34 46:24.419
11 P. WEHRLEIN Mahindra Racing 34 46:24.831
12 F. MASSA ROKiT Venturi Racing 34 46:25.537
13 L. DI GRASSI Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team 34 46:25.775
14 A. DA COSTA DS Techeetah 34 46:26.224
15 O. TURVEY NIO 333 FE Team 34 46:27.543
16 J. CALADO Panasonic Jaguar Racing 34 46:28.943
17 N. JANI TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 34 46:32.800
18 M. GÜNTHER BMW i Andretti Motorsport 34 46:43.033
19 B. HARTLEY Geox Dragon 34 47:09.590
20 MA QING HUA NIO 333 FE Team 33 46:53.945
DNF D. ABT Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team 29 37:36.691
DNF J. VERGNE DS Techeetah 21 27:34.760
DNF S. BUEMI Nissan e.dams 3 6:59.927
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