Bird Penalized, Mortara Wins Hong Kong E-Prix

Edoardo Mortara was declared the winner of Sunday's Hong Kong E-Prix. (Formula E Photo)

HONG KONG – Edoardo Mortara has been declared the winner of Sunday’s Formula E Hong Kong E-Prix at the Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit after initial winning Sam Bird was penalized by officials.

Bird spent most of the race chasing race-long leader Andre Lotterer. The two made contact in the final moments of the race, leading to Lotterer cutting down a tire and allowing Bird to get to the checkered flag first.

Following an investigation by officials, Bird was hit with a five-second penalty that dropped him from first to sixth. The penalty elevated Mortara, who crossed the line second, to the top step of the podium.

The victory is Mortara’s first in Formula E competition and the first for the Venturi team.

Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland took the lead off the line from polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne, who briefly held second before Bird made his way past in the opening turns.

The race was quickly slowed by the yellow flag when Felipe Nasr hit the turn two wall, collecting the cars of Jerome d’Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein. All there were eliminated from the race within the first five minutes of the event.

Officials briefly stopped the race in order to clean up the mess and 13 minutes were added to the race clock to make up for lost time under the red flag.

Once the race was restarted Bird jumped into the lead as Rowland slowed and fell back to 10th. That also allowed Lotterer to move into second, a position he held briefly as Bird slipped in turn two and allowed Lotterer to take the lead.

Bird continued to chase Lotterer at the front, challenging him for the lead and taking it entering turn two. Not to be outdone, Lotterer returned the favor and regained the lead through the chicane.

With less than 18 minutes left in the race Vandoorne came to a stop on the track while Sebastien Buemi picked up damage to his left-front wheel through the chicane. Both drivers were forced to retire as the caution flag waved.

The race resumed with 11 minutes left with Lotterer still leading Bird. The race was soon stopped again as Rowland hit the wall after his rear axel failed. That set up a two-minute dash to the checkered flag with Bird chasing Lotterer.

Bird gave it everything he had to get by Lotterer and the two made contact, which resulted in a cut tire for Lotterer. That opened the door for Bird, who slipped by in the final moments of the race to steal the victory, only for it to be taken away by series officials later.

Lucas di Grassi was elevated to second after the penalty to Bird, followed by Robin Frijns, Daniel Abt and Felipe Massa.