The inaugural Rome E-Prix, the seventh round of the 2017/18 ABB FIA Formula E season, saw Sam Bird score victory for DS Virgin Racing.
After starting second, Bird held station behind pole sitter and early leader Felix Rosenqvist. However, Rosenqvist hit the kerbs one too many times, doing damage to the left rear-wheel of his Mahindra Racing machine and forcing him to retire from the race.
The incident moved Bird into the lead, but he needed to fend off late challenges from Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi.
However, Bird and was able to hold off all challenges, while Evans and di Grassi got wrapped up in their own battle for second, which eventually went to di Grassi. Evans, meanwhile, had used too much of his car’s electric energy while battling for the lead, and he was forced to slow dramatically on the final lap to make the finish, falling all the way to ninth in the process.
Evans’ problems moved Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer into third to round out the podium, but no one had anything for Bird in the final laps and he took his second victory of the the 2017/18 season.
Jean-Eric Vergne retains the Formula E championship lead – he finished fifth in Rome – while Bird’s victory moves him into second, 18 points behind Vergne. Rosenqvist sits third, 37 points out of the lead.