Round 3 of the 2018/2019 FIA ABB Formula E Championship in Santiago, Chile, was won by Great Britain’s Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing/Michelin). German drivers Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing/Michelin) and Daniel Abt (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler/Michelin) were second and third.
The new Michelin Pilot Sport Formula E tyre faced extreme conditions in Santiago where race-day ground temperatures soared to as high 47°C, while the dusty asphalt began to break up as the race progressed. Despite these difficulties, the drivers benefited from all the grip they needed to keep pushing to the finish line.
Pole-winner Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler/Michelin) was deprived his advantage due to a rule infringement which meant it was Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams/Michelin) who had the honour of starting from the front of the grid.
The Swiss driver led for the first half of the race, aided by the early use of his Attack Mode power boost which provided him with some space under pressure from the on-form Bird.
Shortly after the halfway point, however, with the Briton breathing down his neck, Buemi clouted a wall and irreparably damaged his car, allowing Bird to go on and claim the eighth Formula E victory of his career. The Virgin driver has now won at least once every season to date.
He had to fend off a late charge from Wehrlein but the German was forced to settle for second spot when his battery began to overheat in the final laps. The other top-three finisher was Abt who came out on top of the fierce battle for the final podium footing that involved Edoardo Mortara (Venturi Formula E Team/Michelin), Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing/Michelin), Mitch Evans (Panasonic Jaguar Racing/Michelin) and Alexander Sims (BMW I Andretti Motorsports/Michelin).
The hot race’s other victims were Jean-Eric Vergne (mechanical problem, DS Techeetah/Michelin), Antonio Felix da Costa (BMW I Andretti Motorsports/Michelin) and ex-F1 stars Felipe Massa (Venturi Formula E Team/Michelin) and Stoffel Vandoorne (HWA Racelab/Michelin).
The next round of the Formula E championship will take teams to Mexico on February 16.
Santiago E—final positions:
1, Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing), 36 laps
2, Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing), +6.489s
3, Daniel Abt (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler), +14.529s
4, Edoardo Mortara (Venturi Formula E Team), +17.056s
5, Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing), +20.276s
6, Mitch Evans (Panasonic Jaguar Racing), +23.755s
7, Alexander Sims (BMW I Andretti Motorsports), +27.590s
8, Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Mahindra Racing), +41.984s
9, Oliver Turvey (NIO Formula E Team), +45.059s
10, José-Maria Lopez (GEOX Dragon), +45.376s