1. Mortara inherits first Formula E win
Swiss racer Edoardo Mortara was more than happy with second place in Hong Kong and a second consecutive podium finish for the Venturi team on Sunday. But later that the day he found himself bumped up to his first Formula E win – to the surprise of exactly no one.
The 50th race for the all-electric single-seater series turned out to be a controversial, rain-affected contest, dominated by a long and tense duel for the lead between André Lotterer and Sam Bird. The series’ city street circuits tend to be on the narrow side and Hong Kong’s is among the most tight – and on a greasy surface, the clashes that colour Formula E action all too often were more inevitable than ever.
Virgin’s Bird lost the lead to DS Techeetah’s Lotterer when he ran wide at a right-hander, then hounded the three-time Le Mans winner for the next 28 laps.
It had been a great chase to watch, but on what turned out to be the penultimate tour, Bird’s car nudged the rear of Lotterer’s – not for the first time, Techeetah later argued – and the contact led to a right-rear puncture for the German. A first victory for the experienced racer had been snatched away in the most unfair way possible.
Bird’s post-race sombre countenance suggested he knew the win would not be his for keeps, and sure enough a five-second penalty demoted him to sixth. That wasn’t enough for an outraged Teechetah, but the penalty stood – which meant Bird left Hong Kong with a points haul big enough to give him a slight championship lead.
So perhaps he hadn’t lost after all.