Santiago Formula E: Bird takes points lead with win over Wehrlein

Virgin Racing's Sam Bird won ABB FIA Formula E's second race in Santiago after fending off a late attack from Mahindra Racing driver Pascal Wehrlein

Santiago Formula E: Bird takes points lead with win over Wehrlein

In what was officially FE's hottest ever race, 14 drivers finished an attritional affair that featured collisions throughout the field, while some drivers - including Wehrlein - had to battle battery temperature issues late in the race.

Bird's car was briefly placed under investigation after the race for being underweight, although stewards quickly declared no further action was necessary.

Polesitter Sebastien Buemi led Wehrlein, Daniel Abt and Bird at the start, with the Virgin Racing driver mounting an unsuccessful attack for third around the outside of Turn 3, where the attack mode activation zone was located.

The lead four edged away at the front, with Buemi opting to activate attack mode for the first time on lap six of what would become a 36-lap race, shooting away from Wehrlein as he used the extra 25kW available.

Bird also opted for an early attack mode activation and passed Wehrlein into the first corner at the start of lap 11 to seize second.

Buemi held the lead for much of the race as the top three moved clear of Abt while negotiating two full-course yellow periods.

But on lap 22, Buemi locked up going through the fast Turn 7 right-hander - where he crashed dramatically in first practice - and slid into the wall on the outside.

That gifted Bird the lead - Buemi recovered to the pits but was forced to retire - with Wehrlein in pursuit.

Bird opted to take his second attack mode on lap 24 and pulled clear of Wehrlein, but the British driver's lead never exceeded more than a few seconds before Wehrlein used his attack mode with six minutes of the 45 remaining.

The ex-Formula 1 driver, making just his second FE start, put Bird under massive pressure as his 225kW advantage ran out before he was warned by Mahindra about managing his battery temperatures.

That gave Bird the breathing space he needed to take his eighth career FE win, with Wehrlein eventually coming home 6.4 seconds adrift.

The order behind the top two changed considerably after the flag, as on-the-road third-place finisher Alexander Sims, who had risen from eighth on the grid, was given a drivethrough penalty for allegedly tapping Edoardo Mortara into a spin at the tight Turns 8/9/10 chicane on lap 14.

That dropped Sims to seventh in the final order, with Daniel Abt, who had fought the BMW driver in the final stages of the race, taking third as a result.

Mortara survived a late fight with Robin Frijns to beat the Virgin driver to fourth, with Mitch Evans sixth for Jaguar.

Jerome D'Ambrosio rose from P20 on the grid to eighth in the final result, with Oliver Turvey ending up ninth for NIO.

Jose Maria Lopez crossed the line seventh but was dropped down for exceeding maximum power and instead took the final point for 10th.

Nelson Piquet was 11th, with Lucas di Grassi ending up 12th in the final order after a 10-second stop/go penalty was converted into a post-race time penalty for causing a collision with Lopez.

Di Grassi - who originally qualified on pole but was excluded from the session - spun Lopez at the final corner shortly before the second full-course yellow was called to allow Maximillian Gunther's Dragon stricken car to be recovered from the pit straight.

Oliver Rowland retired late on after crashing into the Turn 4 barrier.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa - who collided at the final corner on lap eight - also retired, with Vergne stopping shortly after he spun at the exit of the Turn 3 attack mode corner.

Stoffel Vandoorne had run in the top five for much of the race before he hit the wall at the exit of Turn 3 on lap 18, with the resulting debris needing to be recovered and forcing a second FCY.

The other retirees were Felipe Massa, who stopped in the pits shortly after clashing with Rowland at the exit of the final corner on lap 12, and Tom Dillmann.

UPDATE

Following a post-race investigation, D'Ambrosio and Vergne were handed five-second time penalties for FCY speeding.

Vergne's penalty was inconsequential given his retirement, but D'Ambrosio has lost the lead in the drivers' championship as he is now classified in P10.

As a result of the shuffle, Bird now holds a two-point lead at the head of the standings on 43, with D'Ambrosio down to second.

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 Oliver Turvey NIO NIO 36 45.059s
9 Jose Maria Lopez Dragon Penske 36 45.376s
10 Jerome d'Ambrosio Mahindra Mahindra 36 46.984s
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 1m19.706s
14 Gary Paffett HWA Venturi 35 1 Lap
- Oliver Rowland e.dams Nissan 31 Accident
- Antonio Felix da Costa BMW BMW 23 Accident
- Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah DS 22 Accident
- Sebastien Buemi e.dams Nissan 21 Accident
- Stoffel Vandoorne HWA Venturi 17 Accident
- Maximilian Guenther Dragon Penske 12 Lost power
- Felipe Massa Venturi Venturi 12 Accident
- Tom Dillmann NIO NIO 10 Accident

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Sam Bird 43
2 Jerome d'Ambrosio 41
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 4
16 Jose Maria Lopez 2
17 Nelson Piquet Jr. 1

Teams' standings

Pos Team Points
1 Envision Virgin Racing 71
2 Mahindra Racing 59
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 4
10 Geox Dragon 2
11 HWA Racelab 0


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