An action-packed race day in Hong Kong saw Envision Virgin Racing retake the lead in both the Formula E teams’ and drivers’ championships.
Sam Bird fought his way from seventh on the grid to cross the line first in a stop/start race that saw a long, nose-to-tail battle with Andre Lotterer. The two made contact on the penultimate lap as they fought for the lead and Lotterer picked up a puncture as a result. Bird went on to take the chequered flag but a post-race investigation by the stewards gave him a five-second penalty, which meant he dropped to sixth at the final classification.
Commenting after the race, he said: “Of course, it’s a shame the race ended the way it did, but I accept the stewards’ decision regarding the incident with Andre [Lotterer]. As a team, we still came away wth some good points, especially after a difficult qualifying session, and we know we have the pace to compete at the front, which gives us the confidence moving forward. We’ll now just regroup, put it behind us and look to do our best at the next race in Sanya.”
Bird’s teammate Robin Frijns crossed the line fourth after working his way through the field from 10th. However, following Bird’s penalty, Frijns was promoted to third and is now sixth in the drivers’ championship.
“It’s been a mixed day with the ever-changing conditions and our first wet race,” Frijns said. “We got unlucky with rain in qualifying meaning I started the race in P10. But having multiple safety cars and using my Attack Mode to good effect allowed me to make my way forward. The team have once again scored some valuable points this weekend so that’s a real positive to take into the next race.”
Sylvain Filippi, managing director of Envision Virgin Racing, added: “This is not the race result any of us wanted. Anyone who knows Sam knows he is a fair driver and Andre’s puncture was an unfortunate outcome of a great battle for the lead. We accepted the penalty when it was delivered by the FIA Stewards. Of course, it is costly to us, but we now look forward to the next races, where I am sure the fans will enjoy a lot more close racing. Yet again, we’ve shown we have two great drivers who are able to make their way through the field. To be leading both championships is testament to our pace and my thanks goes to the entire team for their hard work and all our partners for their continued support.”
Envision Virgin Racing now leads the teams’ standings by 11 points. They’ll next be in action on March 23rd in Sanya, China. For all the latest news, head to the Envision Virgin Racing website.