DS Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer said his fight with Bird for the race lead at the Hong Kong ePrix was a good one up until contact was made between the two cars, leaving Lotterer with a punctured right rear tyre, broken suspension and unable to finish the race.
“The fight was pretty good up until that point, except he hit me a few times in the back,” said Lotterer after the race.
“And then in the end so heavily that it destroyed my suspension and my tyres. So not very fair.”
Lotterer said any penalty would not have mattered given that it “destroyed” his chances of scoring his first victory in Formula E.
“It’s a pretty disgusting move if you ask me. It destroyed my race even if he gets a penalty,” concluded Lotterer.
In the hours after the ePrix concluded, stewards handed Bird a five second time penalty, dropping him to 6th position in the amended classification.
While lamenting not being able to finish the race, Lotterer remained encouraged by the overall pace of the DS E.TENSE 19 given the tricky and ever-evolving conditions at the Hong Kong circuit.
“We have a good car overall in general. It was good today in the wet. Also we always had a quick car except in Santiago and in Mexico.”
Sam Bird painted a very different picture of his race.
“The pace was very strong. I think I did probably my best ever start in Formula E in regards to my positioning and my attacking it in the first lap,” said Bird at the post race press conference.
“I found myself after a lap and a half in P2 which, when you start from seventh on a street track, you don’t really expect. So I was very happy with that.
“I think clearly I was quicker than Andre for most of the race with a lot more energy to spare.”
Bird said that the contact between himself and Lotterer reminded him of the incident between Lotterer and his DS Techeetah teammate Jean-Eric Vergne at the Santiago ePrix last season, which saw Lotterer crashing into the back of Vergne.
“The lap in the end was extremely unfortunate,” said Bird. “I wished Andre could have finished the race. It very much reminded me of Andre and JEV (Vergne) actually in Santiago.
“I felt like the door was closed. I was going for the the gap, and when he closed the door I simply had nowhere to go. As I said, it’s a big shame.”
“This is not the race result any of us wanted,” said Envision Virgin Racing team principal Sylvain Filippi.
“Anyone who knows Sam, knows he is a fair driver and Andre’s puncture was an unfortunate outcome of a great battle for the lead.”
“We accepted the penalty when it was delivered by the FIA Stewards. Of course it is costly to us but we now look forward to the next races.”
Images: Formula E
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