British racer Sam Bird took victory at a much faster, more dramatic second Formula E race in Malaysia.
Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird took victory in the second race of the all-electric Formula E championship. The new racing series delivered another spectacular race on a wider track which allowed for numerous overtakes and plenty of drama. Bird is now three points behind di Grassi in the championship table.
Bird led for the majority of the race after taking first place from pole sitter Oriol Servia of Dragon Racing on the fourth lap. Servia dropped back as the race went on, with telemetry readings suggesting an issue with his car’s battery.
The battle for second and third went right to the final lap, with Beijing race winner Lucas Di Grassi finishing just ahead of e.dams Renault driver Sebastien Buemi.
Bird created a huge gap between himself and Jarno Trulli, who ran second until he was forced to retire. Bird’s advantage seems to come from his ability to manage his energy; lifting and coasting to maintain momentum into the corners.
The Malaysian race saw the first Senna vs. Prost battle of the Formula E era. e.dams Renault driver Nico Prost set the fastest lap and technically qualified on pole, but received a ten-place grid penalty following his collision with Venturi driver Nick Heidfeld in Beijing. Prost took fourth place after Mahindra’s Bruno Senna, who used his Fanboost advantage to overtake the Frenchman earlier in the race, put his car straight into the barrier at Turn 9.
Prost’s 10-place penalty allowed Dragon Racing driver Oriol Servia to take first place on the front row of the grid. His teammate Jerome D’Ambrosio took second place to lock out the front row. However, D’Ambrosio received a driver penalty for using too much power in qualifying and started in 20th. D’Ambrosio ran a great race, eventually finishing 5th.
Antonia Felix Da Costa and Katherine Legge seemed to struggle with the Amlin Aguri set up, qualifying 12th and 18th, respectively. Legge tweeted: “Qualifying followed today’s pattern of disaster, with a problem on the rear. Getting all the bad luck out of the way in time for the race!”
Things only got worse after she spun out on the first lap, making contact with Cerruti’s TrulliGP car and requiring a new front wing. She eventually finished 16th.
It was a disappointing weekend for TrulliGP. In addition to Trulli’s second retirement, the collision with Legge put Cerruti out of race from the first lap.
Unusually Audisport Abt driver Daniel Abt pitted on lap ten of 31, having used just half his available battery power, when the majority of the pack chose to pit on lap 18 behind the third safety car. Abt, who had chosen to compete in Formula E this weekend after a clash with his GP2 calendar, then put in an unprecedented stint in his second car, eventually finishing tenth, collecting one point.
Moments after Heidfeld used his Fanboost advantage to very little effect, Montagny made an aggressive move on the Venturi driver, putting the 37-year-old German into the wall on the eighth lap. It’s the second race Heidfeld has been forced out.
He wasn’t the only driver to be forced into a wall. In qualifying, di Grassi hit the wall, slowing on the racing line in front of Alguesuari. The Virgin Racing driver was forced to take avoiding action and hit the barrier, smashing his front right suspension. The Spaniard started 17th but finished 9th, getting off to a great start and making up a couple of cheeky spots.
Alguesuari also secured two points by putting in the fastest lap of the race on lap 20.