Formula E Rome: Bird wins as Rosenqvist retires after hitting curb

Virgin Racing's Sam Bird won the inaugural Formula E race in Rome ahead of Audi driver Lucas di Grassi, as long-time leader Felix Rosenqvist retired after hitting a kerb

Formula E Rome: Bird wins as Rosenqvist retires after hitting curb

Andre Lotterer completed the podium, with his team-mate - championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne - finishing fifth despite sustaining damage on the opening lap.

At the start, polesitter Rosenqvist led away ahead of Bird and Jaguar driver Mitch Evans. While Vergne survived being hit from behind by Alex Lynn.

Rosenqvist edged away from Bird early-on, with Evans and Lotterer falling behind as they opted to save energy and run a lap longer in the opening stint.

Bird closed back in on Rosenqvist before they both pitted on lap 16 of 33. Rosenqvist maintained the net lead of the race as Evans, Lotterer, Daniel Abt and di Grassi stayed out for an extra lap.

As those four returned to the track, the race was neutralised with a full course yellow following Lynn, who stopped at Turn 10, and a four-way incident at the Turn 13 hairpin involving Oliver Turvey, Nick Heidfeld, Luca Filippi and Edoardo Mortara.

Bird closed in on Rosenqvist when the race resumed, with Evans five seconds back and engaged in a scrap with Sebastien Buemi, as further back di Grassi passed Lotterer.

Evans had just deposed Buemi for third when Rosenqvist suddenly slowed and stopped just past the finish line after he clipped the kerb at the Turn 18/19 chicane, which appeared to break his left-rear suspension.

Bird enjoyed a lead of 3.2s over Evans - with di Grassi fighting his way past Buemi for third shortly before a second FCY was deployed to allow Rosenqvist's car to be recovered.

After the restart, Evans used his energy advantage to close in and attack Bird, with di Grassi in close company and Lotterer making it a four-way fight for the lead after passing Buemi.

Evans attacked Bird the bumpy uphill Turn 9 on lap 29, but the Briton defended the inside and Evans lost momentum.

Bird then enjoyed some crucial breathing space in the final laps as di Grassi pressured Evans and passed him at Turn 9 on two laps to go.

Lotterer also got by on the final lap by going around the outside of Evans at Turn 10.

Di Grassi charged up to Bird but could not get by and the Virgin Racing driver held on to win by 0.970s. But di Grassi finished the race facing an investigation for his car swap procedure.

Evans could not make his energy last and he tumbled to ninth at the finish, with Abt fourth.

Vergne, who had scrapped with Abt and Buemi in the second half of the race, finished fifth after passing the Renault e.dams driver late on.

Jerome D'Ambrosio rose from 18th on the grid to take seventh, ahead of Maro Engel, with Mortara rounding out the top 10. Nelson Piquet was the only other retirement after stopping in the pitlane after changing cars.

Race result:

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Sam Bird Virgin DS Virgin 33 58m20.656s
2 Lucas di Grassi Audi Audi 33 0.970s
3 Andre Lotterer Techeetah Renault 33 9.518s
4 Daniel Abt Audi Audi 33 10.167s
5 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah Renault 33 17.444s
6 Sebastien Buemi e.dams Renault 33 19.835s
7 Jerome d'Ambrosio Dragon Penske 33 24.379s
8 Maro Engel Venturi Venturi 33 26.350s
9 Mitch Evans Jaguar Jaguar 33 37.709s
10 Edoardo Mortara Venturi Venturi 33 40.739s
11 Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti Andretti 33 42.680s
12 Oliver Turvey NIO NextEV NIO 33 48.833s
13 Luca Filippi NIO NextEV NIO 33 49.331s
14 Nicolas Prost e.dams Renault 33 1m13.880s
15 Tom Blomqvist Andretti Andretti 33 1m31.832s
16 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Mahindra 33 1m44.774s
17 Jose Maria Lopez Dragon Penske 29 4 Laps
- Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Mahindra 22 Suspension
- Nelson Piquet Jr. Jaguar Jaguar 18 Retirement
- Alex Lynn Virgin DS Virgin 15 Retirement

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Jean-Eric Vergne 119
2 Sam Bird 101
3 Felix Rosenqvist 82
4 Sebastien Buemi 60
5 Daniel Abt 50
6 Nelson Piquet Jr. 45
7 Mitch Evans 43
8 Lucas di Grassi 39
9 Andre Lotterer 33
10 Oliver Turvey 32
11 Edoardo Mortara 29
12 Nick Heidfeld 21
13 Alex Lynn 17
14 Antonio Felix da Costa 16
15 Jose Maria Lopez 13
16 Jerome d'Ambrosio 12
17 Maro Engel 11
18 Nicolas Prost 7
19 Tom Blomqvist 4
20 Luca Filippi 1
21 Kamui Kobayashi 0
22 Neel Jani 0

shares
comments
Andretti's da Costa gets 10-place grid penalty for Rome Formula E

Previous article

Andretti's da Costa gets 10-place grid penalty for Rome Formula E

Next article

Formula E Rome: New cameras triggered di Grassi pit investigation

Formula E Rome: New cameras triggered di Grassi pit investigation
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Drivers Sam Bird , Felix Rosenqvist
Author Alex Kalinauckas
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Plus

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Plus

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Plus

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
How Andretti is planning for life after BMW Plus

How Andretti is planning for life after BMW

Michael Andretti's team is a Formula E ever-present and that's not about to change despite BMW's forthcoming exit. But, with both its drivers contracted to the German giant and McLaren weighing up a possible entry, some key decisions lie ahead

Formula E
Feb 26, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Plus

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021
Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test Plus

Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test

As off-track politics threatens to overshadow events on it, the upcoming Formula E season is perhaps its most important since the championship's inception. And that's a shame, given that the focus should be on what promises to be its closest title fight yet

Formula E
Feb 24, 2021
How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album Plus

How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album

DS Techeetah remains FE's benchmark outfit, but it can expect a stiff challenge this year from two German automotive giants in their second seasons as full manufacturer entries. Here's how Mercedes and Porsche are doubling down to bridge the gap

Formula E
Feb 17, 2021
The magnificent seven Brits fighting for FE bragging rights Plus

The magnificent seven Brits fighting for FE bragging rights

A record seven British drivers will contest Formula E this season, including two squads with all-British lineups. But before they can consider challenging DS Techeetah for the crown, each must lead their teams' recovery to the top

Formula E
Feb 15, 2021