Sam Bird has put his Formula E victory in Saturday’s inaugural New York City ePrix down to lessons learned by the DS Virgin Racing team over a tough week in Berlin last month.
Bird charged from fourth place on the grid to score his first win of the year in New York on Saturday, beating Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Stephane Sarrazin.
Bird had to battle past Vergne, DS Virgin teammate and pole-sitter Alex Lynn, and finally early leader Daniel Abt, after which point he was able to lead all but one lap lost through the pit stop cycle.
The foundations for the win lay in a difficult Berlin race weekend that saw Bird finish seventh in both the Saturday and Sunday races, struggling for pace throughout.
“Once I got past, I think we had the speed today,” Bird said. “We’ve learned a lot from Berlin. Berlin was a real turning point. It might not have looked like it on paper, but we learned an awful lot. I think we demonstrated that this weekend.”
Bird came under pressure from Vergne in the closing stages when the gap fell to just one second, but the Briton had confidence in his car to stay ahead.
“It’s never fun when JEV’s behind you, because he’s a super driver and he’s very quick and you know that JEV wants to win,” Bird said.
“I knew that if my brake temperature was in the right window, I’d been quick all day, and if I got a good restart I knew that I could have the legs to be fine.”
When asked by Current E where the win ranked among his four Formula E victories to date, Bird said: “Yeah, big. I’ve won at home, that was pretty special. The win in BA, everybody says was a pretty cool one.
“But to be the first winner in New York, that’s pretty cool as well. Hard to say really.”