Bird captures second New York victory

Photo: Shivraj Gohil/Spacesuit Media

Sam Bird completed a perfect New York race weekend for DS Virgin Racing by clinching his second victory in the space of 24 hours, beating the Mahindra duo of Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld.

Bird swept to pole position earlier in the day, only for a slow start to cause him to drop to second behind Rosenqvist on the opening lap.

Bird was able to remain latched to the rear of Rosenqvist’s Mahindra through the early part of the race, before eventually making a pass for the lead on Lap 11.

From there, Bird was able to quickly open up a gap over the chasing Mahindras, sitting around two seconds clear before a second full course yellow soon after the pit window opened put the Briton’s advantage in the lurch.

Mahindra reacted immediately to the FCY and pitted both of its cars, with Bird going one lap longer. Fortunately for the DS Virgin strategists, the green flag did not return until moments after Bird exited the pits still leading, dodging a bullet that could have sunk his win hopes.

With an extra lap of energy to use, Bird was able to stream clear through the second half of the race, ultimately crossing the line 11 seconds clear of the pack.

The result saw Bird become the second driver in Formula E history to complete a weekend double (the first being Nicolas Prost, London 2016), as well as capping off a perfect weekend for DS Virgin, the team leaving New York with two poles and two wins.

Rosenqvist took second place for Mahindra ahead of teammate Nick Heidfeld, the pair having swapped positions late on in a bid to aid the Swede’s loose title hopes. Heidfeld had previously moved ahead of Rosenqvist, only to drop back to third in the interests of the team.

Pierre Gasly’s debut Formula E weekend finished on a high as he crossed the line fourth, albeit crashing into the wall in the process as he tried to find a way past Heidfeld.

Lucas di Grassi ended up fifth for ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, meaning he goes into the season finale in Montreal trailing the absent Sebastien Buemi by 10 points.

Nicolas Prost wound up sixth in the second Renault e.dams car, two places behind his stand-in teammate, while Tom Dillmann impressed en route to P7.

Jean-Eric Vergne came home eighth for Techeetah despite being forced into an extra pit stop and a strategic error, while Robin Frijns’ mammoth first stint gave him plenty of extra energy for the second stint, meaning he could charge to ninth on the final lap. Jerome d’Ambrosio completed the points for Dragon in P10.

Formula E returns in two weeks’ time with the season-ending double-header in Montreal, Canada.

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