Chris Soulsby  |    |   0  |  10 March 2019

Sam Bird victorious in Hong Kong E-Prix thriller, under investigation

Envision Virgin Racing's Sam Bird claimed victory in a historic and thrilling Hong Kong E-Prix, standing on the top step of the podium in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship's 50th race while being under investigation.

Bird, who failed to secure a place inside Super Pole, lined up in seventh on the grid for the race while Stoffel Vandoorne secured pole position for HWA Racelab, joined on the front row of the grid by Nissan e.dams' Oliver Rowland.

Securing a strong start from the fourth row of the grid, Bird jumped towards the front of the field, clearing Edoardo Mortara, Lucas di Grassi, Gary Paffett and Andre Lotterer to move into third by the end of the first lap before dispatching of Vandoone to secure second.

Update: Sam Bird stripped of victory, Edoardo Mortara takes Hong Kong win

A momentary loss of pace for race leader Rowland on the exit of Turn 1, who cleared Vandoorne on the opening tour of the circuit, allowed Bird to move into first position while DS Techeetah's Lotterer pursued the Briton after moving into second. 

Applying pressure on Bird, Lotterer gained the lead with 33 minutes of racing remaining, with the Envision Virgin driver making a mistake in Turn 2 to drop down to second place. 

Exchanging fastest lap after fastest lap, both Lotterer and Bird lapped nose to tail out on track, with the Briton placing numerous bids to find a route around the German driver. 

Biding his time, Bird launched his attack on Lotterer on the penultimate lap of the race, rubbing the nose of his car against the right-rear tyre of the leader which ultimately caused the German's tyre to deflate, leaving a clear path between Bird and the eventual victory while Lotterer cruised to a point-less 14th.

As a result of the contact, Bird is under investigation meaning that his win in Hong Kong is at risk and is provisional.

Should the driver be penalised for the incident with Lotterer in the form of a time penalty, it would mean that the victory for the fifth race of the 2018/19 season would swing into the hands of Edoardo Mortara who finished in second place for Venturi. 

Di Grassi, who started from fifth place for Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler, secured third at the chequered flag while Bird's team-mate, Robin Frijns, claimed fourth. 

Daniel Abt completed the top five in the second Audi while Felipe Massa backed-up a double points finish for Venturi by finishing in sixth position.

Battling from 17th on the grid following a difficult qualifying, Mitch Evans secured points for Jaguar Racing by finishing in seventh place while Gary Paffett secured his maiden points in the championship in eighth.

Oliver Turvey delivered NIO Formula E with two points in ninth while Antonio Felix da Costa completed the top 10 as BMW i Andretti Motorsport's sole finisher, with team-mate Alexander Sims crashing out of the E-Prix. 

Jose Maria Lopez was GEOX Dragon's sole finisher in 11th, missing out on points while Tom Dillmann was 12th in the second NIO.

Jean-Eric Vergne's season of woe continued in Hong Kong with the DS Techeetah driver failing to finish inside the top 10 for the third race in succession, with the driver finishing in a disappointing 13th place after being handed a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Dillmann. 

Lotterer was the final classified finisher in 14th following his puncture, with the Hong Kong E-Prix seeing a high number of retirements, with both Nissan e.dams drivers failing to see the chequered flag while Vandoorne suffered from a driveshaft failure. 

Mahindra Racing experienced a double DNF in Hong Kong, with neither Pascal Wehrlein nor Jerome d'Ambrosio seeing the chequered flag after thei pair were caught up in an accident with Felipe Nasr which ultimately brought out an early red flag.

Hong Kong - Race Result

Pos Driver Team Gap Points
1   Edorado MortaraVenturi Formula E Team25
2   Lucas di GrassiAudi Sport Abt Schaeffler0.98818
3   Robin FrijnsEnvision Virgin Racing1.53615
4   Daniel AbtAudi Sport Abt Schaeffler1.98512
5   Felipe MassaVenturi Formula E Team3.25810
6   Sam BirdEnvision Virgin Racing3.3068
7   Mitch EvansPanasonic Jaguar Racing4.0716
8   Gary PaffettHWA Racelab4.3684
9   Oliver TurveyNIO Formula E Team5.6242
10   Antonio Felix da CostaBMW i Andretti Motorsport6.4921
11   Jose Maria LopezGEOX Dragon7.2180
12   Tom DillmannNIO Formula E Team7.8250
13   Jean-Eric VergneDS Techeetah Formula E Team16.6040
14   Andre LottererDS Techeetah Formula E Team24.2700
15   Oliver RowlandNissan e.damsDNF0
16   Stoffel VandoorneHWA RacelabDNF0
17   Sebastien BuemiNissan e.damsDNF0
18   Alexander SimsBMW i Andretti MotorsportDNF0
19   Felipe NasrGEOX DragonDNF0
20   Pascal WehrleinMahindra RacingDNF0
21   Jerome d'AmbrosioMahindra RacingDNF0
22   Nelson PiquetPanasonic Jaguar RacingDNF0

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