Yesterday the second round of the FIA Formula E Series kicked off in the ancient Malaysian city of Putrajaya, and the action was every bit as exciting as the series opener in Beijing. There were thrills, spills, and a last-lap crash, but yesterday’s race belonged to Virgin Racing and the plucky young Brit named Sam Bird, who won Formula E Putrajaya by a wide margin.
Bird never looked back after taking an early lead and continuing to increase his advantage lap after lap. It wasn’t just the speed that set him apart though, as he managed to slip into the pits halfway through the race with a paltry 3% battery life left. I wonder if the Fan Boost feature had anything to do with his early lead?
Any less and he might have ended up stranded on the track like a couple of other drivers, but the perfect timing meant he his lead was never really challenged. Even by the end of the race, Bird still had the most power left in his battery pack while other drivers were deciding whether to push their cars or to conserve energy. Following Bird in 2nd place was Luca di Grassi, and in third place was Sebastian Buemi, though the last-lap action wasn’t relegated to the finish line.
Coming into a 90-degree corner on the final lap, Bruno Senna apparently pushed his car too hard, slamming into a wall sideways at high speeds and ending the race early for him. He appeared to get out of the car unharmed (except maybe his ego), though he went from being a top 5 contender to just another DNF.
With the second-place finish, Luca di Grassi stays on top of the leaderboard thanks to his earlier victory in Beijing, eeking out a narrow advantage over Sam Bird by just 3 points. Bird and di Grassi are now the front runners for the first season of Formula E, though with seven more races left to go, there’s stll plenty of time for the leaderboard to get jumbled around.