Despite having to make a drive-through penalty, Sam Bird wins the opening round of Season 4 of Formula E at the Hong Kong ePrix.
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COMMENTATOR: And we go green in Hong Kong. It's a good start from Bird. He's going to hold the lead on the run down to Tamar Park. Everybody covers the inside line. There's a bold move there around the outside from Felix Rosenqvist trying to get-- and there's Heidfeld, isn't it? Trying to get involved around the outside. He can't quite do it and he's lost out. Everybody's safely through the first corner.
So, it is Jean-Eric Vergne who leads the way, side by side between di Grassi and da Costa, coming down into the 90 degree right-hander at Hong Kong Station. Oliver Turvey is up into third place. What a tremendous start from the Englishman in the NIO car. Everybody's safely through the second quarter as well. But Oliver Turvey, he started in seventh. He's in third place now, as everyone shuffles their way through the [INAUDIBLE] chicane.
Piquet's up on his wheels almost and [INAUDIBLE] is in the wall. And there's a traffic jam.
COMMENTATOR: --red flag. So the race stopped.
COMMENTATOR: So a red flag declared, then, by the race director. The cars will make their way back to the grid.
So here is a look at it again. On the exit, [INAUDIBLE] ends up in the wall, because I think he just tried to take a wider line around it to avoid the troubles.
COMMENTATOR: Bizarre. You kno, what happened there?
COMMENTATOR: Here he comes. So he was on the outside.
COMMENTATOR: Here he is. Yeah.
COMMENTATOR: He sort of tries to steer away from Piquet.
COMMENTATOR: He was trying to get around the outside of Piquet. Didn't have the lock.
This first lap, the tires are not up to temperature. So the car's going to handle differently--
COMMENTATOR: Oh! Look at that. Lucas di Grassi under pressure from Buemi. Buemi hits di Grassi. They keep Running into each other. And--
COMMENTATOR: --there's another one. There's a spin further back. That's Luca FIlipi and Felix Rosenqvist--
COMMENTATOR: Rosenqvist. Yeah.
COMMENTATOR: --spinning down at turn one at Tamar Park. And Rosenqvist is having a race to being. And a big lock up from Jean-Eric Vergne in the lead, as he comes down into Hong Kong Station. Sam Bird right with him, but these rivalries are starting to kick up already. And we're five laps in.
Lucas di Grassi in the pits, then, for the Audi team. So they've decided to come in.
COMMENTATOR: Knows something's wrong. Filipi's going through, making his drive-- Oh, Oh, look at right rear.
COMMENTATOR: Look at that. Rear right is wobbling around. And that could be the end for the reigning champion in the first round of the season.
Vergne is just driving in the middle of a road at every single corner now, desperate to keep that TECHEETAH in front. [INAUDIBLE] at the inside. There he goes up the inside at six and the hairpin! Great move from Sam Bird. He nearly [INAUDIBLE] there in qualifying. Now he's taken the lead in the race. Fantastic positions! Now into the pits goes Bird!
COMMENTATOR: Oh no!
COMMENTATOR: And he's missed his way in. And now he is going to have to jump into the other car. It's so slippery and dusty in there in the pit lane.
Here Comes Bird out onto the second again. Where is Jean-Eric Vergne? He's a long way behind, I think.
COMMENTATOR: Not even close.
COMMENTATOR: And off-- is that Buemi?
COMMENTATOR: Buemi, I believe.
COMMENTATOR: That is Buemi.
COMMENTATOR: Buemi has come to a halt on the exit of the hairpin. The man we were just talking about who was looking strong, because he had more [INAUDIBLE] to remain [INAUDIBLE] has come to a stop. He fires it up again.
RADIO: Buemi [INAUDIBLE].
COMMENTATOR: --Bird. Drive through penalty.
COMMENTATOR: Sam Bird, the race leader, given a drive through penalty. Article 37.6. He was in contravention of the sporting regulations. And that means he will lose the lead of this E3. Here comes Sam Bird serving his drive through penalty. Where is he going to emerge then? He comes out of the pit lane now.
And is he going to be in front still? Comes out in front of the TECHEETAH. No he isn't. He is.
COMMENTATOR: Yes he is.
COMMENTATOR: He's still in the lead. He's still in the lead.
COMMENTATOR: Oh my gosh.
COMMENTATOR: So Sam Bird, despite having a drive through penalty, has managed to emerge just in front of Jean-Eric Vergne and Nick Heidfeld.
Here comes Sam Bird now through the final sequence of corners. It's been a very topsy turvy race for Sam Bird. He started second on the grid. He's going to come through and win. But that doesn't even tell the half of it, as he turns through the final corner now, out onto Lung Wo street for the final time. Sam Bird wins in Hong Kong, the opening race for the season.
RADIO: Well done, mate. Excellent.
COMMENTATOR: Sam Bird onto the top step. Or on top of his car, I should say. And he is getting used to that winning feeling, isn't he?
- What a stress that was. What is stress. There's just no grip in the pit lane. Like, I turned in. I just went straight on. There's nothing I can do. You know, the pit lane's so dirty. But anyway, amazing result. I served my penalty. I thought I'd be in-- be six, be seven. I thought I'd lost. I thought he was in front, because the radios were so bad.
But yeah. We dominated the race. It was great. Thanks to all the DS team-- All DS Performance for working so hard. We didn't know what to expect when we came here, but what a great start to the year.
- How's it feel?
- It feels good. I'm a bit stressed at the moment, so-- [LAUGHS]
- Your pulse is a bit high?
- Yeah. That was stressful. Stressful.