Formula E: Sam Bird coasts to victory in Putrajaya ePrix

Putrajaya – Saturday’s second instalment to the inaugural Formula E season began a full two hours early, preempting an oncoming rain shower. The grid was set with e.dams-Renault’s Nico Prost taking pole and Dragon Racing’s Oriol Servia starting from second. The second row was filled by Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird and Audi Sport ABT’s Daniel Abt. Row 3 consisted of Trulli’s Jarno Trulli and Mahindra’s Karun Chandhok. China Racing’s Nelson Piquet and Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld started on Row 4, followed by Mahindra’s Bruno Senna and Andretti’s Matthew Brabham on Row 5. Antonio da Costa of Amlin and Stephane Sarrazin of Venturi started on Row 6. Row 7 consisted of Andretti’s Franck Montagny and Trulli’s Michela Cerruti. Row 8 was made up of China’s Ho-Ping Tung and Amlin’s Katherine Legge. Jaime Alguersuari of Virgin and Lucas di Grassi of Audi Sport ABT started on Row 9. The back row was filled by e.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi and Jerome d’Ambrosio of Dragon.

The race began in a wild way, with Servia taking off from the starting grid, having inherited pole from Nico Prost who started in 11th after inheriting a 10 spot grid penalty from causing the spectacular crash with Nick Heidfeld on Lap 25 in Beijing. Heidfeld’s fellow countryman, Daniel Abt fell back significantly from his 4th place start, seemingly due to a power issue.

The first retirement came on Lap 7 when Legge collided with Cerutti, ending the Italian’s race earlier than she, or her team, would have preferred. Cerutti was followed 7 laps later by Germany’s Nick Heidfeld, who collided with Andretti’s Frank Montagny at Turn 5, leaving the German to exit the race on Lap 14, a stark difference from his sudden crash on the final lap one month ago in Beijing.

Sam Bird of Virgin Racing undoubtedly had the best racing strategy, conserving his batteries enough  to allow him to pit at just the right time, after the majority of the field had already switched to their second cars, and later maintain enough power to finish a full 43.663 seconds faster than Daniel Abt, who finished in 10th. Lap 30 was marked by Bruno Senna crashing at the hairpin.

With his victory in Malaysia, Bird now stands comfortably in 2nd in the Drivers’ Standings with 40 points just behind Beijing’s winner Lucas di Grassi who came in 2nd in Putrajaya on Saturday. e.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi finished out the podium, finishing 5.739 seconds behind Bird.

Formula E returns on 13 December in the Uruguayan resort city of Punta del Este. The race will be broadcasted live in the United States, Canada, and Australia by Fox Sports, in the United Kingdom live on ITV4. Full broadcasting information has yet to be released.

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