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Bird claims hard-fought win in FE’s 50th race

Sam Bird claimed a dramatic late victory in Formula E’s 50th E-Prix in Hong Kong, but he is under investigation for a collision with Andre Lotterer.

It means the British driver moves to the top of the drivers’ championship and becomes the first repeat winner of the 2018/19 season.

Bird got a great start from seventh and took advantage of Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland making an error around the tight Turn 1 hairpin to move into the lead.

Envision Virgin Racing’s Bird then made a mistake on the second lap of the race which allowed DS Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer to move into the lead.

The pair battled throughout the remainder of the race, with Lotterer holding his position each time.

Three safety car restarts – one after a red flag to clear up Felipe Nasr’s Dragon Racing car and the Mahindra pair of Pascal Wehrlein and Jerome d’Ambrosio, who led the championship heading into the Hong Kong E-Prix – meant the eight second lead they had built over HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne and then Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara was eradicated.

Each time they were able to pull out another gap.

The final restart occurred with little over two minutes remaining and on the penultimate lap Bird hit the back of Lotterer’s Techeetah.

Lotterer picked up a puncture and fell down the order while Bird went on to win the race, pending the investigation.

Mortara came home in second place making it two podiums in a row for the Swiss-Italian driver, beating Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi.

Bird’s Virgin Racing team-mate Robin Frijns was fourth with Daniel Abt in fifth. Venturi’s Felipe Massa was sixth, ahead of Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, HWA’s Gary Paffett, NIO’s Oliver Turvey and BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Antonio Felix da Costa.

Paffett’s eighth place means HWA have now jumped up to ninth in the teams’ championship following his points and Stoffel Vandoorne’s points for pole position.

Vandoorne suffered with driveshaft issues during the race and did not finish the race.

Dragon’s Jose Maria Lopez was 11th ahead of Tom Dillmann, Jean-Eric Vergne and Lotterer.

Rowland, Vandoorne, Sebastien Buemi, Alexander Sims, Nasr, Wehrlein, d’Ambrosio and Nelson Piquet all failed to finish.

Jack Amey

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