Mortara takes Hong Kong ePrix after Bird's wings clippedby Graham Keilloh on 11th March 2019
Formula E provides more drama as Morata takes a debut win after a last lap clash then a post-race penalty for Sam Bird
Images: Lou Johnson / Spacesuit Media
We have commented before that this Formula E season keeps providing drama and the Hong Kong ePrix provided more – albeit a certain variation of it. Victory changed hands on the last lap after a clash; then changed hands again when the man first across the line got a post-race penalty for his role in the rancour.
The upshot was that Edoardo Mortara took his and the Venturi squad's first FE win. It also provided redemption, as it is a year on from Mortara losing an FE win at this venue with a late error.
Yet it arrived only after Sam Bird – first to the flag – got a five-second penalty confirmed some four hours after the race had finished.
Envision Virgin Racing's Bird had spent much of the race shadowing long-time leader André Lotterer of DS Techeetah. The tight and torturous Hong Kong track didn't offer much in the way of passing opportunities, but matters came to a head in the final two laps.
On the penultimate tour Bird nudged Lotterer's right-rear tyre. Lotterer continued initially still in front but on the last lap his tyre punctured dropping him down the order and letting Bird through to take the flag first. Yet his eventual penalty demoted him to sixth and promoted Mortara, second at the end, to his debut win.
It had, earlier, become another FE race to be interrupted by a red flag, after Dragon's Felipe Nasr went into the barriers and his car was hit by the Mahindra pair of Pascal Wehlein and Jérôme d'Ambrosio.
Bird had the recompense of leaving Hong Kong in the championship lead, sneaking ahead of d'Ambrosio by a single point. Amazingly four drivers are within two points of the top, with Mortara and Audi's Lucas di Grassi two shy of Bird.