Sam Bird claimed a first win with his new team Jaguar on the opening weekend of the 2021 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season in Diriyah.
Bird emerged on top of a race-long duel with Envision Virgin’s polesitter Robin Frijns that was brought to an early conclusion by an accident that led to Alex Lynn being hospitalised.
The safety car came out with 10 minutes left as Sebastien Buemi parked his Nissan while separate incidents involving Tom Blomqvist and Maximilian Guenther, and Lynn and Mitch Evans occurred at the same time.
Lynn’s Mahindra is understood to have been launched off Evans’ Jaguar and skated down the track upside down before hitting a wall in a runoff area. He was taken to hospital for checks, but was “conscious and talking”, according to his team.
After a long safety car period, the race was stopped with two minutes on the clock.
From third on the grid, Bird had quickly passed front row starter Sergio Sette Camara’s Dragon Penske Autosport car on the opening lap and set off with Frijns.
Frijns was first of the pair to deploy attack mode, losing the lead as he went through the activation zone before swiftly retaking it with his extra power.
When Bird went for attack mode he fell behind Sette Camara temporarily too and lost ground to Frijns overall.
Frijns took attack mode again just before a full course yellow caused by Pascal Wehrlein shoving Jake Dennis into the wall.
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) February 27, 2021
Again Frijns fell behind Bird, but he managed to reclaim the lead with the final moments of his attack mode.
Once they were back on equal power, Bird was all over Frijns and got back ahead in a straight fight.
He still had one attack mode to take and was in danger of losing multiple places as he did so given that charging DS Techeetah pair Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa had caught up to them.
But Vergne and da Costa took themselves out of victory contention with a bout of intra-team wheel-banging that allowed Bird and Frijns to pull clear.
— DS TECHEETAH (@DSTECHEETAH) February 27, 2021
That meant Bird only fell behind Frijns when he went for attack mode again, and was able to reclaim the lead for good using the additional power before the race came to its muted conclusion.
Vergne emerged ahead of da Costa to take third, with Nick Cassidy making it through to fifth in the other Envision Virgin car – though he is under investigation for going too fast during the full course yellow.
As expected, qualifying star teams Dragon and NIO333 fell back during the race, but Sette Camara and team-mate Nico Mueller held on for sixth and seventh ahead of NIO333’s Oliver Turvey.
Oliver Rowland and Rene Rast completed the top 10.
De Vries’ team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne also had to take a drivethrough penalty for a pre-race powertrain change and finished 18th and last, just behind Porsche’s Andre Lotterer – who had also started at the back due to his practice crash.
|Pos||Name||Team||Car||Laps||Laps Led||Total Time||Fastest Lap||Pitstops||Pts|
|1||Sam Bird||Jaguar Racing||Jaguar I-Type 5||29||11||39m50.836s||1m09.847s||0||25|
|2||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||Audi e-tron FE07||29||18||+2.194s||1m09.902s||0||22|
|3||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||DS E-Tense FE20||29||0||+6.9s||1m10.108s||0||15|
|4||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Dragon / Penske Autosport||Penske EV-4||29||0||+12.817s||1m10.225s||0||12|
|5||Nico Müller||Dragon / Penske Autosport||Penske EV-4||29||0||+13.924s||1m10.33s||0||10|
|6||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 Formula E Team||NIO 333 001||29||0||+15.523s||1m10.383s||0||8|
|7||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.DAMS||Nissan IM02||29||0||+16.389s||1m10.135s||0||6|
|8||Lucas Di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||Audi e-tron FE07||29||0||+20.612s||1m09.868s||0||4|
|9||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes-Benz EQ||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||29||0||+22.482s||1m08.811s||0||3|
|10||Pascal Wehrlein||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E||Porsche 99X Electric||29||0||+25.395s||1m10.598s||0||1|
|11||André Lotterer||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E||Porsche 99X Electric||29||0||+27.257s||1m09.364s||0||0|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Techeetah||DS E-Tense FE20||29||0||+28.846s||1m10.202s||0||0|
|13||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-Benz EQ||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||29||0||+29.112s||1m09.689s||0||0|
|14||Nick Cassidy||Envision Virgin Racing||Audi e-tron FE07||29||0||+33.079s||1m09.754s||0||0|
|15||Alexander Sims||Mahinda Racing||Mahindra M7Electro||29||0||+43.885s||1m09.755s||0||0|
|16||Norman Nato||RokIT Venturi Racing||Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02||29||0||+48.192s||1m10.028s||0||0|
|17||René Rast||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||Audi e-tron FE07||29||0||+1m06.254s||1m09.454s||0||0|
|18||Tom Blomqvist||NIO 333 Formula E Team||NIO 333 001||29||0||+1m09.508s||1m10.557s||0||0|
|Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||BMW iFE.21||26||0||DNF||1m09.991s||0||0|
|Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||Jaguar I-Type 5||26||0||DNF||1m09.355s||0||0|
|Alex Lynn||Mahinda Racing||Mahindra M7Electro||26||0||DNF||1m09.632s||0||0|
|Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.DAMS||Nissan IM02||26||0||DNF||1m09.999s||0||0|
|Jake Dennis||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||BMW iFE.21||16||0||DNF||1m10.684s||0||0|