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Sam Bird takes third Formula E pole of season in Paris

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PARIS – Sam Bird took his third pole position of the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E season for the inaugural Paris ePrix thanks to a stunning final lap in qualifying on Saturday.

Bird led the group qualifying session to secure a place in the five-way Super Pole shootout, where an aggressive lap gave him pole by three-tenths of a second from championship leader Lucas di Grassi.

Pole for Bird was particularly poignant given that Paris is the home of DS, who linked up with Virgin Racing ahead of season two and have now taken three pole positions.

Di Grassi had been on provisional pole before Bird’s run, but will have to start Saturday’s race from second on the grid. However, his chances of extending his championship lead were given a boost as title rival Sebastien Buemi qualified way down in eighth place.

Jean-Eric Vergne underpinned Bird’s pace in the second DS Virgin car by qualifying third, his best result of the season so far, while Stephane Sarrazin and Nico Prost made it a trio of Frenchman starting in the top five.

Robin Frijns led Andretti’s charge by qualifying sixth, narrowly missing out on a slot in the Super Pole shootout. NEXTEV TCR enjoyed its best qualifying of the season so far as Oliver Turvey and Nelson Piquet Jr. finished seventh and ninth respectively, split by Buemi on the grid.

Simona de Silvestro finished down in 12th place for Andretti, while Ma Qinghua ended up 15th in his first Formula E qualifying despite nearly crashing twice at the end of his hot lap.

Ex-IndyCar racer Mike Conway was unfortunate not to qualify higher after getting tangled up with Mahindra’s Nick Heidfeld in Q1, leaving their teams with repair work to complete ahead of the race later this afternoon. The pair will start from the final row of the grid.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”