Sam Bird took full advantage of a huge mistake by Sebastian Buemi, managing to record both his and Envision Virgin’s first win of the 2018/19 FIA Formula E season in Santiago.
Bird, who started the Chile race in 4th, managed to make moves on both Daniel Abt and Pascal Wehrlein early in the race. He then proceeded to do everything possible in trying to catch the race leader, Sebastien Buemi, who seemed poised to end a two season long win-less streak. Buemi started the race from pole position following Lucas Di Grassi’s exclusion.
Buemi had controlled the first half of the race, but a mistake caused by the Bird was putting on sent the Nissan e.dams driver into the wall for the second time in one day. In spite of the fact that he managed to crawl back to the pits, Buemi was forced to retire from the race because of some damage to his cars suspension.
This promoted Bird into a race lead which he refused to relinquish, the British driver managing to defend his position against attacks from Wehrlein towards the end of the race, thus recording his first win since last year’s E-Prix in Rome.
Wehrlein had an impressive showing in only his second Formula E race, managing a third consecutive podium finish for Mahindra this season. Alexander Sims, also a rookie driver managed to finish third on track for BMW-Andretti, but he was later relegated to seventh which promoted Audi driver, Daniel Abt to third.
Edoardo Mortara finished in fourth, Venturi’s best result of the season, followed by Robin Frijns who managed to gain 10 positions from his initial starting spot in 15th.
Mitch Evans kept his point scoring streak going by finishing sixth, ahead of Alexander Sims, Jerome D’Ambrosio, Oliver Turvey and Jose Maria Lopez who completed the top 10.
Only four cars actually finished the race outside the points, more precisely, Nelson Piquet Jr, Lucas di Grassi, Andre Lotterer and Gary Paffet. Jean Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa, both title contenders in their own right were forced to retire due to collisions, while Stoffel Vandoorne saw his hopes at a maiden points finish obliterated by a mistake he made during attack mode which saw the Belgian end up crashing
Maximilian Gunter, Felipe Massa and Tom Dillmann were also forced to retire.
The 2018/19 Formula E season returns on February 16th with the Mexico City E-Prix.
Photo: Envision Virgin