With most eyes on the events in Abu Dhabi at the weekend, Formula E went a tad under the radar- which unfortunately for Sam Bird, meant his dominant performance around the streets of Putrajaya also did.
Malaysia marked the second race weekend of Formula E’s inaugural season, with the back of the series’ opening race two months ago in Beijing, where after a HUGE last corner clash between Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld and e-Dams Nico Prost, Lucas Di Grassi came through to clinch his, and Audi Sport ABT’s, first win in an exciting encounter.
If anything, Malaysia was even better. Oriol Servia grabbed pole position for Dragon Racing despite being second fastes in qualifying, with the fastest man, Prost, being demoted 11-places as punishment for his and Heidfeld’s acrobatics in China.
Servia got a poor start but managed to hold off Virgin Racing’s Bird into the tight first chicane, whilst Daniel Abt dropped to the back of the pack in matter of seconds from third on the grid following a torrid start. Elsewhere, ladies of Formula E Katherine Legge and Michela Cerruti had a lap one coming together for Amlin Aguri and Trulli GP, bringing out the safety car.
The restart saw Bird dive up the inside of Servia for the lead, before pulling out a gap of over three seconds without the expense of using too much power- the Brit being the last of the field to pit for his second car on lap 19 of 31. Not choosing to pit was Abt, who chose to try and nurse his initial car home on a strained battery pack, which ultimately left the German with a sizeable lead out front once the pit stop phase was complete.
However apt the decision may have seemed, it failed to pay off. Sam Bird madethe race-winning move with six laps to go, as Abt began conserving energy at the rate of a hard-up student, eventually finishing tenth at the chequered flag.
Also experiencing a faltering charge was Bruno Senna, who on the final lap chucked his Mahindra into the barriers on entry to the races penultimate corner, conceding fourth place in the process.
There were no such dramas for Bird out front though, who took his and Virgin’s maiden ePrix victory by over four seconds ahead of Lucas Di Grassi, who came from the ninth row of the grid to finish second, ahead of Sebastian Buemi who rounded out the rostrum in 3rd place.
1 Sam Bird- Virgin 51m11.979s
2 Lucas di Grassi- Abt 4.175s
3 Sebastien Buemi- e.dams 5.739s
4 Nicolas Prost- e.dams 9.552s
5 Jerome D’Ambrosio- Dragon 13.722s
6 Karun Chandhok- Mahindra 17.158s
7 Oriol Servia- Dragon 18.621s
8 Antonio Felix da Costa- Aguri 19.926s
9 Jaime Alguersuari- Virgin 20.053s
10 Daniel Abt- Abt 45.663s
11 Ho-Pin Tung- China 55.833s
12 Stephane Sarrazin- Venturi 56.626s
13 Matthew Brabham- Andretti 1m05.036s
14 Bruno Senna- Mahindra Spun off
15 Franck Montagny- Andretti 1 Lap
16 Katherine Legge- Aguri 3 Laps
17 Jarno Trulli- Trulli 3 Laps
– Nelsinho Piquet- China Collision
– Nick Heidfeld- Venturi Disqualified
– Michela Cerruti- Trulli Collision