LONDON: Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was handed victory in the concluding race of this season’s inaugural Formula E championship in London on Sunday (Monday in Manila) as Brazil’s Nelson Piquet Jr. took the overall title.
France’s Stephane Sarrazin (Venturi) crossed the line first but was immediately handed a 49-second time penalty for exceeding energy usage, giving British driver Bird a win in front of his home crowd.
Piquet, the son of three-time Formula One champion Nelson Piquet Sr., was already the series leader and the China Racing driver finished in seventh place to be crowned the first champion in a competition featuring 100-percent electric cars.
“The championship has been really tough,” said Piquet Jr., a 29-year-old former Formula One driver.
“We’ve got a good group of guys. They trusted me and believed in me.”
Meanwhile a delighted Bird said, “What a way to finish, unbelievable, unbelievable.
“The strategy was good as well, we were able to go a lap longer than Stephane, and hounded him all the way to the finish.”
Bird added, “I knew that he would be very tight on energy if not over and that was the case.”
He paid tribute to Piquet Jr. by saying: “In my opinion (he’s) the most deserving champion and the speed that he showed in the middle of the year had us scratching our heads—it was horrible.
“I think he is a worthy champion.”