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Bird storms to victory in sweltering Santiago showdown

Formula E
Saturday, January 26, 2019

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Sam Bird jumps for joy
Sam Bird jumps for joy
After surviving the sweltering heat in Santiago, it was Envision Virgin Racing's Sam Bird who emerged victorious in Parque O'Higgins, closely followed by Mahindra Racing's rookie driver Pascal Wehrlein, who stormed to second with Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler's Daniel Abt inheriting third.

Polesitter Sebastien Buemi led the way while Envision Virgin Racing's Sam Bird wasted no time in moving past Audi Abt Sport Schaeffler's Daniel Apt.

Stopping on track just a few minutes into the race was NIO's Tom Dillmann, who picked up damage after hitting bodywork debris on track. With record temperatures in Santiago - 45 degrees Celsius on track - the race is the hottest in the history of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

The ATTACK MODE activation zone - in which drives can pick up an additional 25kW of power by going wide of the racing line - opened, with drivers permitted to collect the boost twice throughout the race. Each boost lasts four minutes.

Both Audi's Lucas di Grassi and Geox Dragon's Maximilian Guenther came under investigation after cutting the chicane. Di Grassi, who’s times in Qualifying and Super Pole were good enough to see him clinch the Julius Baer Pole Position, was relegated to the back of the grid after his times were cancelled by the FIA for breaking the regulations on the in-lap when returning to the pits.

Like a repeat of the DS Techeetah's epic collision in Santiago last season, Andre Lotterer once again hit into the back of his teammate - albeit channeling the energy through BMW i Andretti Motorsport's Antonio Felix da Costa - sending Jean-Eric Vergne spinning into oncoming traffic, sending the Frenchman and da Costa to 20th and 21st respectively.

With 30 minutes left, Buemi led the way with Bird now in second and Mahindra's Pascal Wehrlein in third. With nearly all 22 cars and drivers trading knocks and bodywork through the tight streets of Santiago, the Full Course Yellow was deployed with 25 minutes left of the race after Max Guenther's car stopped on track.

With the racing restarted, Bird and Buemi went head to head at the front of the pack. Meanwhile, HWA Racelab's Stoffel Vandoorne understeered with the wall on the exit of Turn 3 while trying to defend, losing both front wings and damaging the back of his car. With the Full Course Yellow deployed again, racing restarted with 18 minutes left.

Still fighting in third, Mahindra rookie driver Wehrlein kept close to Bird and race leader Buemi. After a miserable debut in Marrakesh, in which his race lasted only a few minutes, the new Mahindra driver looked to be heading for a podium finish.

Buemi grabs lead at start
Buemi grabs lead at start
With just 15 minutes to go, Buemi overran through the chicane (Turn 6/7) - the same place he crashed out in Practice 1 - and shattered the front of his car. Limping around to the pitlane, the Swiss driver's hopes of a podium finish were dashed as he retired. Shortly after, Frenchman and reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne retired after he spun going into to Turn 3 as did BMW i's da Costa, reducing the field to just 15 running cars.

Sims, after his hopes of a sure one-two win were dashed in Marrakesh had made his way to third, behind Wehrlein in second and Bird in the lead. In the middle of the pack, the battle raged between Envision's Robin Frijns, Venturi's Edoardo Mortara, Panasonic Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans and DS Techeetah's Andre Lotterer.

Hungry for the win on his first full Formula E race, rookie Wehrlein went on the attack, challenging seasoned driver Sam Bird with just a few minutes to go. Battling with the heat and crippling track temperatures, Wehrlein's car started to suffer, trailing behind Sam Bird who extended his lead to take the checkered flag. Close behind was Wehrlein with Sims crossing the line in third. Despite the BMW drivers provisional podium finish, a time penalty for causing a collision, handed Audi's Daniel Abt third.

Result - 36 laps

POS DRIVER TEAM CAR LAPS GAP
1 Sam Bird Virgin Audi 36 47m02.511s
2 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Mahindra 36 6.489s
3 Daniel Abt Audi Audi 36 14.529s
4 Edoardo Mortara Venturi Venturi 36 17.056s
5 Robin Frijns Virgin Audi 36 20.276s
6 Mitch Evans Jaguar Jaguar 36 23.755s
7 Alexander Sims BMW BMW 36 27.590s
8 Jerome d'Ambrosio Mahindra Mahindra 36 41.984s
9 Oliver Turvey NIO NIO 36 45.059s
10 Jose Maria Lopez Dragon Penske 36 45.376s
11 Nelson Piquet Jr. Jaguar Jaguar 36 48.635s
12 Lucas di Grassi Audi Audi 36 1m03.552s
13 Andre Lotterer DS Techeetah DS 36 1m14.706s
14 Gary Paffett HWA Venturi 35 1 Lap
- Oliver Rowland e.dams Nissan 31 Retirement
- Antonio Felix da Costa BMW BMW 23 Retirement
- Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah DS 22 Retirement
- Sebastien Buemi e.dams Nissan 21 Retirement
- Stoffel Vandoorne HWA Venturi 17 Retirement
- Maximilian Gunther Dragon Penske 12 Retirement
- Felipe Massa Venturi Venturi 12 Retirement
- Tom Dillmann NIO NIO 10 Retirement

Driver standings

POS DRIVER POINTS
1 Jerome d'Ambrosio 44
2 Sam Bird 43
3 Antonio Felix da Costa 28
4 Robin Frijns 28
5 Jean-Eric Vergne 28
6 Mitch Evans 22
7 Daniel Abt 21
8 Andre Lotterer 19
9 Pascal Wehrlein 18
10 Alexander Sims 18
11 Sebastien Buemi 15
12 Edoardo Mortara 12
13 Lucas di Grassi 9
14 Oliver Rowland 6
15 Oliver Turvey 2
16 Nelson Piquet Jr. 1
17 Jose Maria Lopez 1

Team standings

POS TEAM POINTS
1 Envision Virgin Racing 71
2 Mahindra Racing 62
3 DS Techeetah Formula E Team 47
4 BMW i Andretti Motorsport 46
5 Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 30
6 Panasonic Jaguar Racing 23
7 Nissan e.Dams 21
8 Venturi Formula E Team 12
9 NIO Formula E team 2
10 Geox Dragon 1
11 HWA Racelab 0

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