Sam Bird penalty doesn't change my race - Andre Lotterer
Andre Lotterer has hit out at Sam Bird's time penalty following the Hong Kong E-Prix, declaring that the driver's penalization doesn't change the ultimate, and point-less, outcome of his race.
In Hong Kong last weekend, Lotterer was close to securing his maiden win in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, fighting from third on the grid to lead for most of the 45 minute + 1 lap affair.
Pursued closely by Envision Virgin Racing's Bird, the DS Techeetah driver's race fell apart on the penultimate lap when he was struck on the rear by the trailing Briton, with this causing the German's right-rear tyre to puncture and deflate.
This puncture, in turn, led to extensive suspension, diffuser and bodywork damage to the driver's DS E-Tense FE19 car, meaning that Lotterer took the chequered flag in 14th place as the final classified finisher, losing out on what could have been a haul of 25 points.
As a result of the incident, Bird was handed a five-second time penalty post-race, with this demoting him from first place to sixth, with Venturi's Edoardo Mortara inheriting the victory to become Formula E's fifth different winner in five races so far in the 2018/19 campaign.
“It was supposed to be a really good day," said Lotterer.
"On the last lap of the race, I got hit in the back by Sam Bird unfortunately which destroyed my tyre and my suspension. It wasn’t really a fair move and we now go home empty-handed.
"It’s pretty sad because even if Sam got a five-second penalty, it doesn’t change the race for me, I can’t get those points back.
"The good thing is that I had the fastest lap and we have a good car so now we look to Sanya and keep moving forward.”
While Lotterer took 14th, it was another difficult weekend of racing for reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne, with a 13th place finish in Hong Kong marking the third race in succession where the Frenchman has failed to finish inside the top 10.
Vergne's weekend opened in difficult circumstances after the driver crashed at the end of Group Two qualifying to start in 18th, battling through the field before a five-second time penalty following contact with Tom Dillmann relegated him to 13th.
“[It] wasn’t my race, I had another round of bad luck," he said. "I feel very sorry for André, the race was his and we lost a win as a team.
"Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in this race. We’ll put this behind us and move forward together as a team and we’ll bounce back in Sanya. It’s going to be our home race and hopefully we can finally have a good race there.”
The inaugural Sanya E-Prix, which marks the home race of DS Techeetah, will take place on March 23.