Sam Bird played down suggestions that he’s now Jean-Eric Vergne’s main title challenger after his win in Rome, and says he expects an “extremely tough” battle in the upcoming races.
“There’s going to be times when I make mistakes, and times when others make mistakes. I just need to limit mine and do the best I can, then wait and see,” said Bird. “There are still over 100 points on the table, which is more than I’ve got currently. It’s going to be extremely tough.
“This is the first time I’ve beaten [Vergne] for four races, and now you say I’m closing in. I’ve had one good race, but I need to have three or four in a row. It’s good to say that I’m in striking distance, but there’s a long way to go.”
Having closed to within 18 points of Vergne’s title lead, Bird insists he will only look at the points table when Formula E arrives in New York for the championship decider in July; a venue he claimed back-to-back wins at during last year’s championship.
“When we get to New York we’ll look at the points, but until then we’ll concentrate on taking it race by race. I didn’t think we’d be in this position at the beginning of the year. I thought we probably would struggle a bit more with what we were bringing to the table, but we’ve maximised everything, DS Virgin Racing have done brilliantly, and I’m doing alright as well.”
Bird explained afterwards how his race strategy had panned out, and showed sympathy for Felix Rosenqvist whose retirement promoted the Brit into the lead.
“[Rosenqvist] was struggling a bit adjusting his brake balance and I was able to catch up. There were some cars behind that were really, really quick. They’d gone a lap longer so they must have done an amazing first stint,” said Bird.
“Stint two, I don’t know what happened to Felix. Apparently, he’s hit a kerb too hard, and he’s broken the suspension which is a shame for him, but that gave me the lead. Then it was a case of getting my head down and not make too many mistakes, which I did; I made a mistake downhill into turn five which allowed Lucas [Di Grassi] and Mitch [Evans] to close in.
“Luckily I came out unscathed, but then I had to just keep my head down again and try to position my car in the right place, using the right amount of energy because I knew Lucas would be hunting on the last lap. I tried to give myself the best scenario, and it worked out well.”
Image Credit: Formula E