Sam Bird recovers points despite disappointing Santiago ePrix

Sam Bird battled back from an early collision in Santiago to secure two hard earned points which keep the Englishman within touching distance of ABB Formula E championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne.

Starting from 16th on the grid, Bird tried to move his way through the pack, until he was tapped by Daniel Abt which sent the Envision Virgin Racing driver into a spin.

The winner of race one in Saudi Arabia then produced a strong comeback drive to finish 12th on the road, before being moved up to 10th place after post-race penalties were applied.

The 33-year-old also bagged an extra point for fastest lap.

Speaking after the race, Bird said: “It’s positive to take some points away from what has been a difficult weekend for the team.

“We were always aware that qualifying was going to be difficult but we were confident in our pace and ability to make our way forward during the race.

“Unfortunately, I was tapped twice during the race which really hindered my progress – without both those incidents I’m really confident that we could’ve been fighting in the top five today.

“There’s nothing more we could’ve done today as a team and I’m happy that I’ve secured points here in Santiago – as we know in Formula E scoring consistently is extremely important.”

Bird’s teammate Robin Frijns finished 15th after he was caught up in a collision at the hairpin on lap one.

The Dutchman was forced into the pits for a change of tyres as a result and this unfortunately ended his chance of taking anything from the weekend.

“I think it’s fair to say that today has not gone our way and a huge part of that is down to the qualifying groups – with none of the drivers from the first two groups making it into Superpole,” Frijns said.

“We started near the back of the grid but were confident that both Sam and myself could make our way forward – we’ve shown we’ve got the pace behind us and can make the moves when they count. However, being involved in an incident early in the race put a stop to that – as I had to return to the pits with a puncture – and from there it was just about gaining data out on track.”

Overall it was a disappointing weekend for Envision Virgin Racing but the team’s managing director Sylvain Filippi said the signs of pace were still positive.

“It’s been a difficult day for us here in Santiago but to come away with points is very important for the team,” Filippi said.

“This morning we showed that we had the pace – with Sam topping the timings in FP1 – but the ever-evolving track conditions made qualifying very difficult. Sam [Bird] drove a fantastic recovery race today, having been spun twice on track during the race, and really showed the true pace of the car. It’s still very early on in the season and continuing to score points every weekend is our goal.”

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