Bird/Rosenqvist share Hong Kong honors

The new Formula E season started with a pair of races around the streets of Hong Kong over the weekend.

Saturday’s opening round Jean-Eric Vergne starting from pole, which he won while crossing the finish line backwards.

Last season’s champion Lucas Di Grassi narrowly missed out a super pole position and lined up in sixth, three places in front of Sebastien Buemi.

Both of them made decent getaways with the Swiss gaining two spots before the first corner.

Surprisingly there was no major carnage in the first two corners but everything changed when Andre Lotterer hit the wall at the chicane and blocked the track, which caused the race to be red-flagged for around half an hour.

This was the first red-flagged race in the history of the championship, which only races on street courses.

The length of the stoppage was because the FIA had troubles sorting out the race order before the race was resumed.

At the re-start Vergne resumed his lead in front of Sam Bird and Nick Heidfeld.

The Frenchman though struggled for pace and was soon passed by Bird, which forced Vergne to pit and try the undercut, which did not happen.

During his pit-stop Bird had some problems placing his car in the correct place which earned him a drive-through penalty, but because of how short the pit-lane was this had no effect on his position in front of Vergne and Heidfeld.

Further back Di Grassi was forced to pit early after his first car suffered a suspension failure caused by a small contact with his teammate at the re-start.

The Brazilian ended up in 17 while setting the fastest lap of the race.

Sebastien Buemi experienced some technical problems with his second car and was station at the exit of turn one for about 20 seconds, which left him in 11, just shy of the points.

Race winner Bird was further penalized for his pit-stop error with a ten place grid drop for Sunday.

Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist won the pole for Sunday’s race in front of debutant Edoardo Mortara and Daniel Abt, Bird started from 13 following his penalty.

On the actual start Rosenqvist outbreaked himself at turn one, spun and rejoined the action down in P11.

This gave the lead the multiple Macau GT winner Mortara who held on Abt for 43 of the 45 laps, before spinning himself at turn two with just three laps to go, finishing in third at the end.

Rosenqvist on the other hand made a stunning fightback after his turn one shenanigans to be third following the pit stops, which turned into second after Mortara spun.

Di Grassi again had a day to forget after his first car stopped on track just meters before he entered the pit lane and after a 15 seconds delay he finally entered the pits, but not before losing the advantaged he had gained with extending his first stint.

He finished in 13, again missing out on points, with Buemi finishing in 10, the championship contenders of the first three season left Hong Kong with a single point combined.

At the front Abt crossed the line to grab his first series win on his 25 birthday, but was later disqualified as a result of an administrative mistake made by Audi, thus giving Rosenqvist his second win in the series.

Bird, who recovered to finish in fifth on Sunday leads the championship in front of Vergne and Rosenqvist, who are two and six points behind respectively.

Next up is the Marrakesh ePrix on January 13.

Edited by Oliver Windle

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