Sam Bird admits luck played into Zurich E-Prix podium
DS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird has admitted that luck played into his second-place podium finish at last weekend's inaugural Zurich E-Prix.
For the race - which marked the first closed circuit race in Switzerland for 64 years - Bird lined up in third on the grid after making a mistake in his final qualifying run, clipping the wall on the circuit's chicane section and thus handing pole position to Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans.
When the five red lights went out for the start of the race, Bird maintained third position before dropping back to fourth on lap 13 after being overtaken by reigning champion Lucas di Grassi while this later became fifth after Sebastien Buemi found a way past the Briton for Renault e.dams.
After the deployment of a full course yellow on lap 19, fortune favoured Bird when Evans, Andre Lotterer, Buemi, Jose Maria Lopez and championship rival Jean-Eric Vergne were all handed drive-through penalties for speeding.
This promoted Bird to second-place by the time the chequered flag waved on lap 39, the result marking his sixth podium finish of Season Four.
"I was disappointed after qualifying, as I felt we had a missed opportunity to get three extra points for pole - the first two-thirds of the lap was some of the best I’ve driven and I threw it away in the chicane," said Bird post-race.
"We settled into a rhythm in the race and it’s become apparent that I have to lift more than the people around me.
"That’s just the way it is - but we’ve got ourselves in this fantastic position in the title fight, and scored second place today - with a little bit of luck I have to say.
"We can fight in New York and we know what happened there last year… I need to beat him [Vergne] in the first race and put the pressure on. If I can do that, then we’ll see!"
With Vergne finishing in 10th place for Techeetah, Bird was able to lash the Frenchman's lead in the Drivers' Championship from 40 points to 23 while there are 58 points still available in Formula E's season-closing New York City E-Prix - the series' second double-header event of this season.