Brazil Sam Bird

Formula E News: Bird out duels Evans to win in Brazil

Sam Bird has won the Brazil Formula E race in his #8 McLaren, passing Jaguar TCS driver Mitch Evans on the last lap and winning by 0.564s

Bird had hit the front early on, through the first round of ATTACK MODE activations, keeping polesitter and early leader Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) at bay to lead a pack with no breathing room between them – scarcely at any point through the encounter was there more than a handful of seconds between the top 15, and often just three second split the top 10 runners.

Sam Bird, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team, e-4ORCE 04, leads Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 6, and Pascal Wehrlein, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 during the Sao Paulo ePrix at Streets of Sao Paulo on Saturday March 16, 2024, Brazil. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

The lead shuffled between Bird, the Porsches of Wehrlein and his Porsche teammate Antonio Felix da Costa, the Jaguar of Mitch Evans and Jake Dennis (Andretti) as the race ebbed and flowed. The chat pre-race was of an energy-critical encounter with the Anhembi Sambadrome Circuit’s long straights and sweeping curves.

Two Safety Car periods – including one for the recovery of standings leader Nick Cassidy’s Jaguar when the Kiwi hit the wall in dramatic fashion on Lap 16 – turned the remainder of the race into a straight sprint to the finish.

As the laps ticked down, Bird and Evans looked to hold the advantage. Despite Dennis in third keeping 1.5% usable energy in-hand on the lead pair, his car was running too hot to capitalize. Inside the final seven laps, including three added on for those periods under the Safety Car, Evans appeared to have done enough with a move around the outside of Bird at Turn 3 for P1.

However, the McLaren driver was not done. All too aware he’d not won since Formula E’s trip to New York City in 2021, he couldn’t resist a last-ditch maneuver on his old sparring partner and Jaguar teammate for the top step of the podium.

Bird went all the way around the outside of Turn 10 – his last chance to make something stick – and hung on to take the inside line and the lead into Turn 11, steering to the win with Evans just half a second back. Most certainly one of the best moves and best finishes to a race in Formula E’s 10-season history.

Sam Bird. The race that included 212 competitive overtakes was watched by tens of thousands of fans in Brazil’s most populous city including racing royalty Bernie Ecclestone and fellow countrymen Felipe Massa and Emerson Fittipaldi.

Dennis’ temperatures were critical, and the Porsche-powered Andretti had to manage things to the finish, allowing Oliver Rowland (Nissan) to capitalize as the reigning champion tried to fend off Wehrlein. Yorkshireman Rowland was able to slice by both at the last corner, beating the pair in a sprint to the finish to third, with Wehrlein edging Dennis for fourth.

Antonio Felix da Costa (TAG Heuer Porsche) rounded out the top six, while Brazilian home heroes Lucas di Grassi (ABT CUPRA) and Sergio Sette Camara (ERT) could only manage 13th and 16th respectively.

All that meant Cassidy’s lead at the top of the standings has been chopped into in a big way thanks to his crash and non-score. Wehrlein finds himself just three points back on 53 points, with Evans third on 39 in the Drivers’ World Championship. In the Teams’ Jaguar TCS Racing head TAG Heuer Porsche, 96 points to 61.

Alejandro Agag, Chairman, Formula E, Bernie Ecclestone and Sam Bird, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team during the Sao Paulo ePrix at Streets of Sao Paulo on Saturday March 16, 2024, Brazil. (Photo by Simon Galloway / LAT Images)

SAM BIRD, No.8, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team, said:

“I said on the radio, ‘I think he’s struggling’ and I was told to cool the car, and then I saw the lift points and I thought ‘well look, it’s now or never. I’ve got to go.’ He defended the inside and gave me just enough room on the outside to have some kind of move. I don’t know how close it was to the wall, but it was fair racing and we got it done.”

MITCH EVANS, No.9, Jaguar TCS Racing, said:

“I’m really happy for Sam, he’s had a tough few seasons so to see him get a win again in his new colours – he looks good in orange – I’m super happy for him. Got some good points. I would have taken second coming into this weekend just in terms of my championship position, but the win was right there…. I just had no power, so he would have got me to the line anyway, I was a bit of a sitting duck.”

OLIVER ROWLAND, No.22, NISSAN Formula E Team, said:

“The race was crazy, there was so much to manage in terms of temperatures… I managed to do well in the beginning to get up to seventh, and honestly when I was there, I was quite happy to just score some points but the car was really good. I could carry the speed in the corners, and we had a good strategy so everything was just under control, I think you could see that at the end.”

Formula E Brazil Results

Pos Driver Team St Behind Points
1 Sam Bird Neom Mclaren Formula E Team 5 0.000 25
2 Mitch Evans Jaguar TCS Racing 4 0.564 18
3 Oliver Rowland Nissan Formula E Team 11 3.540 15
4 Pascal Wehrlein Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 1 3.629 15
5 Jake Dennis Andretti Formula E 10 3.722 10
6 António Félix Da Costa Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 8 5.567 8
7 Jean-Éric Vergne DS Penske 3 6.006 6
8 Stoffel Vandoorne DS Penske 2 6.817 4
9 Maximilian Günther Maserati Msg Racing 22 8.085 2
10 Sébastien Buemi Envision Racing 18 8.610 2
11 Sacha Fenestraz Nissan Formula E Team 14 9.277 0
12 Edoardo Mortara Mahindra Racing 6 9.762 0
13 Lucas Di Grassi Abt Cupra Formula E Team 15 10.819 0
14 Nyck De Vries Mahindra Racing 13 13.677 0
15 Jehan Daruvala Maserati Msg Racing 16 14.379 0
16 Sérgio Sette Câmara ERT Formula E Team 19 17.511 0
17 Dan Ticktum ERT Formula E Team 20 17.884 0
18 Norman Nato Andretti Formula E 21 18.889 0
19 Robin Frijns Envision Racing 17 19.124 0


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