Double Bird in New York

Sam Bird doubled up and took the weekend’s second victory in FIA Formula E Championship.

After yesterday’s win, Bird started the day by taking Pole Position in front of Felix Rosenqvist and Jean-Eric Vergne, while Sebastien Buemi’s replacement, Pierre Gasly, qualified in fourth place. Buemi’s closest threat in the championship, Lucas di Grassi, would only start from ninth place, which was one position higher than yesterday. But once again he would start behind his Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport teammate Daniel Abt, who after Saturday’s race, only qualified in 17th.

Robin Frijns had to change his gearbox after qualifying and hence start second last, with only Nelson Piquet Jr behind him. The latter also had to change some parts of the car after qualifying.

The sunny weather on Saturday’s race continued on Sunday. The race on Sunday was, however, six laps longer than the Saturday’s race, so that the engineers wouldn’t just do a copy-paste of the battery strategy from Saturday.

Felix Rosenqvist got the best start and went past Sam Bird under the start. Jean-Eric Vergne had damaged his car after a contact and must pit early.

For Saturday’s most unfortunate driver, Daniel Abt, the race was over prematurely. He got a contact in turn 1 and later in the same lap his Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport car stopped before he could take it back to the pit after restarting it.

Nick Heidfeld started fifth and after overtaking Pierre Gasly, he won another free position when Vergne pitted.

Maro Engel had to drive into the pits after he cut the wall.

FIA Formula E, New York, Sunday
Photo: Steven Tee/LAT/Formula E

Mitch Evans got a problem when he outbraked himself and afterwards couldn’t get the car into reverse gear. It gave Full Course Yellow, so that his car could be removed from the track. Though the race was restarted quickly.

On the 11th lap, Bird dived past Rosenqvist and was about to send the two Mahindra Racing drivers Rosenqvist and Heidfeld into each other.

There was a long train between the NextEV NIO driver Oliver Turvey, who tried to save as much power as possible after using 3 % more than the drivers behind him. It meant there was a line of ten cars, right after each other.

Pierre Gasly was quite comfortable in fourth position, with a hole to top three and a good gap down to Turvey on fifth.

Turvey had to give up his place to Lucas di Grassi on the 15th lap, with Tom Dillmann and Nico Prost next in line to overtake the Englishman. Prost went past Dillmann and then Turvey shortly after. Dillmann did the same to Turvey later on the same lap. After that Turvey fell back through the field like a stone and was immediately out of top 10.

After 20 laps of the race, Alex Lynn had to park the car on the track and it caused another Full Course Yellow, in order to remove his car.

Mahindra Racing was smart and sneaked ind into the pits as the first ones, hoping to win some places later.

Almost all the teams chose to do the same, since it was much better to pit under FCY, than when the cars were on full speed.

Both Techeetah drivers were proven to be the biggest losers, when the team didn’t call them into the pits right away, and half of their car change was done under green flag. It sent them back out as 15th and 16th, which were the two last cars on the track. Robin Frijns and team MS Amlin Andretti did exactly the same mistake, and it resulted in Frijns fell dead last in the field.

Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing
Photo: Sam Bloxham/LAT/Formula E

Halfway through the race Jerome D’Ambrosio span around during a battle with Antonio Felix Da Costa, which later also caused him to lose a place to his own Faraday Future Dragon Racing teammate, Loic Duval.

Nico Prost had a terrible qualifying, with only 15th start position, but after 30 laps he was suddenly up behind Lucas di Grassi, battling for fifth place.

Antonio Felix Da Costa and Loic Duval had a contact, when the latter tried to drive past. It made Felix Da Costa spin around and lose another place to Jerome D’Ambrosio.

On 36th lap Nick Heidfeld went past his Mahindra Racing teammate Felix Rosenqvist, although Heidfeld had less power on his battery. It quickly became obvious that Rosenqvist got a technical problem and he had to be careful with the car in order to finish.

D’Ambrosio did another overtaking on his Faraday Future Dragon Racing teammate Loic Duval, which gave Duval more problems as he got closer to Antonio Felix Da Costa. The latter then attempted to do a hopeless overtaking manouvre, which sent Duval to a spin, and that made Duval lose positions to both Jean-Eric Vergne and Stephane Sarrazin. Antonio Felix Da Costa got a drive-through penalty from the race control for this move, but it didn’t do anything for Duval.

Sam Bird won the race in front of Felix Rosenqvist, who managed to come past Nick Heidfeld again. Heidfeld and Pierre Gasly created an extra drama in the last corner, when Gasly drove past but couldn’t keep the car on the track and hit the barrier with both sides of the car. However, he still had so much speed that the car could slide through the finish line and finish fourth.

After this weekend’s point distribution, Sebastien Buemi still leads the championship with just ten points in front of Lucas di Grassi. Felix Rosenqvist is third, while Sam Bird with his super weekend jumps all the way up to fourth place. Theoretically these four drivers have a chance to win the championship, but a lot of things have to go wrong for Buemi and di Grassi, for the two others to join the battle. Bird must have Pole Position in both races, fastest lap in both races and he must win both races – and Sebastien Buemi must not score any point, while di Grassi must not get more than 10 points.

In the team championship Renault e.DAMS continues to be in front, followed by Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, Mahindra Racing and DS Virgin Racing respectively.

But nothing is decided when the 11th og 12th rounds, which is also the season finale, are run on Montreal July 29th and 30th.

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