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Formula E Hyderabad ePrix

Bird 'let Jaguar down' in Evans FE Hyderabad clash, got attack mode 'wrong'

Sam Bird has taken full responsibility for taking out Formula E team-mate Mitch Evans from the inaugural Hyderabad E-Prix, saying he is feeling “low” for letting Jaguar down.

Sacha Fenestraz, Nissan Formula E Team, Nissan e-4ORCE 04, Maximilian Gunther, Maserati Racing, Maserati Tipo Folgore, get stuck as Sam Bird, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 6, Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing , Jaguar I-TYPE 6, crash out

Jaguar had appeared to be the team to beat on Formula E’s first visit to India, the home country of parent company Tata, with Evans taking pole position and Bird setting the pace in morning practice.

However, Jaguar’s chances of claiming a victory ended in dramatic circumstances after Bird slammed into the side of Evans’s car going into Turn 3, with the damage rendering both cars out of the race.

While it initially appeared that Bird was trying to pass the Nissan of Sacha Fenestraz that was running between the duo, the British driver was actually positioning himself to arm the attack mode located on the outside of the hairpin.

But Bird got caught out by the closing speeds of the two cars in front of him and, while he successfully cleared Fenestraz, he couldn’t avoid an unsighted Evans who was already at the apex when the two Jaguars came to blows.

The incident not only marked a disastrous end to what had looked like Jaguar’s best chance to end Porsche’s early-winning streak, but it also affected the races of Fenestraz and Maserati MSG’s Maximilian Guenther, who both dropped outside the top 10 after getting caught up in the melee.

Speaking after the race, a visibly dejected Bird personally apologised to Evans and was quick to take blame for the entire incident.

“I made a mistake and I took out a lot of people in the race,” Bird told Autosport.

“There's not much to say. It's my fault, I take responsibility. I wish I can take it back but I can't. I've let my team down, my team-mate down and a couple of drivers out there.

“I feel really low. But we have a race in two weeks and we can try and correct it. The good thing is we have a fast car.

Antonio Felix da Costa, Porsche, Porsche 99X Electric Gen3, Sergio Sette Camara, NIO 333 FE Team, NIO 333 ER9, the remainder of the field

Antonio Felix da Costa, Porsche, Porsche 99X Electric Gen3, Sergio Sette Camara, NIO 333 FE Team, NIO 333 ER9, the remainder of the field

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“I was going for attack mode and I got it wrong."

Explaining the incident, he added: “I was pushing down the straight to get the gap to Guenther [behind].

“They braked earlier than what I thought, the closing speed was too big, I had to go to the inside otherwise I was going to hit Sacha. But unfortunately Mitch was there.

“Maybe I should have just hit Sacha and then Mitch would have been fine. But the first guy you see is the one you try and avoid.”

Evans had qualified on pole position for the first time in almost 12 months and was running close behind Sebastien Buemi’s Envision and the race-winning DS Penske of Jean-Eric Vergne when he was hit by Bird's car.

Asked to explain the incident from his point of view, Evans told Autosport: “There is not much to say. Wrong place, wrong time.

“Sam made a mistake and he hit me. It's a shame as we were on for a good result.”

Asked what kind of result was possible today, Evans said a win was “definitely” on the cards and the race represented a “big” missed opportunity for Jaguar on a day none of the four Porsche-powered cars had started inside the top 10.

The race control deemed Bird responsible for the incident and handed him a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Cape Town.

Rene Rast, meanwhile, will drop three positions on the grid after crashing into Andretti’s Jake Dennis at the safety car restart.

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