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Bird completes New York Formula E sweep with second win

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RED HOOK, NY – Sam Bird completed a victory sweep of the New York Formula E race weekend by taking his second win in the space of 24 hours for DS Virgin Racing on Sunday afternoon.

Bird took his first victory of the season on Saturday, and followed this up by charging to pole position for Sunday’s race ahead of Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist.

Rosenqvist made a strong start from P2 on the grid to dive into the lead ahead of Bird at the first corner, but could not shake the British racer off at the front.

Bird was able to slide past and reclaim the lead at the same spot he had lost it on Lap 11, and was soon able to move clear and create a gap to Rosenqvist behind.

Mahindra pitted Rosenqvist and teammate Nick Heidfeld, running third, under a full course yellow just before half-distance, yet Bird stayed out, hoping it would be a lengthy caution period for teammate Alex Lynn’s stricken car.

Bird was able to pit and emerge still leading, with the race going back to green just seconds later, ensuring his advantage at the front remained intact.

Victory was Bird’s for the taking from that point on as he used his lap of extra energy to pull clear of Rosenqvist and Heidfeld, eventually crossing the line 11 seconds clear.

Rosenqvist moved up into second late on ahead of Heidfeld after two swaps of position, the Swede standing a slim chance of still winning the title at the season finale in Montreal.

Red Bull Formula 1 junior Pierre Gasly finished fourth ahead of title contender Lucas di Grassi, who will go to Montreal trailing New York absentee Sebastien Buemi by 10 points.

Nicolas Prost took sixth for Renault ahead of Tom Dillmann and Jean-Eric Vergne, while Robin Frijns and Jerome d’Ambrosio completed the points-paying positions.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.