Sam Bird Takes Victory In The First Rome ePrix
Rosenqvist already showed a strong performance as he posted the fastest time of the day during FP2. He continued the trend as he drove onto pole with a time of 1:36:311. He was intend on closing the gap between him and Jean-Eric Vergne in the driver’s championship.
Despite starting in the second qualifying group, Vergne did not fare well and only managed to qualify in P8. However, his teammate André Lotterer sprung a surprise: Lotterer got himself into Super Pole for the second time since joining Formula E. In doing so, he set the fastest time of the session and out-qualified his teammate. However, the rookie was unable to continue the feat in the Super Pole shoot-out, eventually qualifying in P4 between Mitch Evans (P3) and Sebastien Buemi on P5.
After a good start for Rosenqvist he continued his dominant performance, driving out a gap of 2,5 seconds. He remained comfortably in the lead until the second part of the race when a broken rear-suspension forced him to retire. Thus, he only took 3 points from qualifying with him.
Rosenqvist states that he has not done anything differently: “Basically I hit the kerb the same way as I’ve done before in turn 17 and the left rear suspension just gave up. I looked in the mirror and I saw my wheel was wrong and I had to stop. I couldn’t continue because my driveshaft broke as well.”
This retirement promoted Sam Bird to first place.
However, before the full course yellow, a battle for positions had erupted behind the leading cars: Di Grassi gained a position by getting past Lotterer. Buemi was not able to keep up with the pace during the second part of the race and was overtaken by Mitch Evans.
After FCY ended, di Grassi overtook the Swiss using Fanboost. The very next lap Buemi was overtaken by Lotterer, Abt, and Vergne – being passed down to 6th.
In the closing stages of the race a three-way fight for the podium started to erupt. Evans had tried multiple times to take victory by attacking Bird. In doing so, he had used too much energy and ran out in the last turns. He managed to clinch the chequered flag just so and finished in 9th place.
While Lucas di Grassi gained on Bird, he did not manage to get past him. Thus, Sam Bird crossed the finishing line and took the first victory of the Rome ePrix – which also marks his second victory in the season. Di Grassi came second with a +0.970 gap to Bird, followed by Lotterer.
Sam Bird gives a nod to the unfortunate ending of Rosenquvist’s race, stating that “if Rosenqvist hadn't made that mistake, I think he would have won here.”
Rome also marks the second podium for André Lotterer – who is still in his rookie season and mentioned that he “learned a lot”, adding: “I’m still trying to gauge myself a little and I think I could be a bit more aggressive in the middle of races.”
After the Rome ePrix, Jean-Eric Vergne strengthened his championship lead with 10 points – amounting to an overall of 119 points. Sam Bird took second place in the driver’s championship with 101 points to his name. Meanwhile, Lotterer managed to slot into the top 10 of the standings and is followed by Turvery who has only one point less.
After the Rome ePrix, Techeetha strengthened their lead in the team standings – now having 152 points. They are followed by DS Virgin Racing who have 118 points.
Audi Sport Abt Schäffler took fourth place from Renault. Despite a less than optimal race day for Panasonic Jaguar with a DNF and only two points, they managed to take 5th in the team standings. This leaves Renault E.Dams in 6th.
After the Rome ePrix, Formula E returns to Paris on the 28th of April.