Vergne, Bird not pressured as season showdown looms
Techeetah FE’s Jean-Eric Vergne and DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird remain the only two drivers left standing to contend for the 2017-18 Formula E driver championship. With two races to play out this weekend in New York, a total of 58 points are up for grabs, with Bird 23 points adrift of Vergne.
Bird admits that chasing down Vergne – who has been a model of consistency this season – will be a tall, if not impossible, order.
“It’s going to be very difficult” said Bird. “Last year was a different circuit with shorter race distance. With making the track longer and a longer race distance it falls into the hands of other manufacturers that have more efficient powertrains. I’ll give it my best chance. That’s all I can ever do”.
Despite being a race winner in all four seasons of the Formula E Championship, Bird has, until this year, been unable to sustain a championship challenge, but believes his underdog status will serve him well, whatever the outcome.
“Going into this championship I had very very little expectations of what we can achieve” added Bird. “I think we have massively overachieved, and it’s great to be in this position.
“Of course I am going to want to try and fight. I will give it my best. If it doesn’t happen, I will still hold my head up very high and say I have had a great season”.
Vergne however was quick to deflect the pressure of being favorite for the title, hinting that a weary England may turn to Bird to pick itself up after its World Cup defeat.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure for me”, said Vergne before joking, “England can’t win the world cup. The only world cup that England can win is with Sam this weekend!”
The previous round on the streets of Zurich was a race to forget for Vergne, after suffering a disastrous qualifying effort and a lackluster race chasing traffic.
“Honestly I don’t know what happened!” shrugged Vergne.
“I had a very fast car there. We made some analysis after the qualifying and we found out that for the last two years, the guy that was starting first in Group one in qualifying was on average 17th”.
“I was very frustrated after Zurich. Starting there last I came behind Sam on the pit stop. I lost 12 seconds. I was able to catch up again. Then I got a penalty because of the full course yellow. That was a bit unfair”.
“My frustration came down after Zurich. I realized I wanted it a little bit too hard, to win the championship already there. So now I guess I don’t have this pressure anymore. It’s this weekend or never.”
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