Sam Bird and Envision Virgin Racing picked up the win in the first race for the Ad Diriyah ePrix in Formula E’s sixth season. Bird qualified second and led the final eight laps of the race to pick up the ninth victory of his ABB Formula E”s career.
The Ad Diriyah ePrix wasn’t all that easy for Bird to get the victory. Alexander Sims and the BMW i Andretti Motorsports team qualified on the pole and led the first 22 laps, before the new Mercedes benz EQ entry of Stoffel Vandoorne took the lead and led for four laps until Bird took over the eight remaining laps.
The ePrix saw new entries from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche for the first time ever. Mercedes-Benz is normally known for its presence in Formula 1 with Lewis Hamilton. Porsche fielded an entry for Andre Lootterer and Neel Jani. Both drivers finished second and 17th respectively in the ePrix.
As the lights went out and the race went green, Sims quickly got out to a sizable lead. Though, the Attack Mode was activated and available for all 24 drivers. In addition, the drivers can pick up an additional 35kW power for the race.
While the first part of the race was easy for Sims, it was not for the Nissan e. dams’ entry of Sebastien Buemi. Buemi ended up stopping on the track and was unable to get the car to refire. With the incident, the Switzerland native suffered his first retirement since Hong Kong of last year. Buemi ended up 24th in the final results.
Another disaster struck in the Formula E season opener. Last years champion, Jean-Eric Vergne of DS Techeetah had to retire from the event with just 17 minutes remaining in the event. With the difficult first outing, Vergne saw himself with a 23rd place finish. Certainly not the first race the France native wanted.
After those incidents, it looked as though the ePrix would go green for the time remaining. However, a Safety Car was deployed when there was three minutes left in the race. A quick restart came with one minute left giving the field one more chance to catch Bird, but the English driver held on to get the first victory of the season. Lotterer of TAG Heuer Porsche and Mercedes-Benz rounded out the podium in their first race.
The Ad Diriyah ePrix saw four retirements from the event. Daniel Abt, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sebastain Buemi and Nico Muller all retired from the event.
Formula E will close its first race weekend of the 2019-20 season on Saturday morning in the United States. Round 2 of the Ad Diriyah ePrix can be seen on Fox Sports 2 at 6:30 a.m./ET Saturday morning.
- Sam Bird, 26 points, led eight laps
- Andre Lotterer, 18 points
- Stoffel Vandoorne, 15 points, led four laps
- Oliver Rowland, 12 points
- Robin Frijns, 10 points
- Nyck de Vries, eight points
- Edoardo Mortara, six points
- Alexander Sims, led 22 laps, seven points
- Jerome D’ Ambrosio, two points
- Mitch Evans, two points
- Pascal Wehrlein
- Felipe Massa
- Lucas di Grassi
- Antonio Felix da Costa
- Oliver Turvey
- James Calado
- Neel Jani
- Max Gunther
- Brendon Hartley
- Ma Qinghua
- Daniel Abt- Retired
- Jean-Eric Vergne- Retired
- Sebastien Buem- Retired
- Nico Muller-Retired