Brit Sam Bird secured another podium finish in Punta del Este to close in on second place in the Formula E drivers’ championship.
The DS Virgin driver held off a spirited challenge from Mitch Evans to finish third, an impressive drive after starting from tenth on the grid, but it was Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne who won in Uruguay and extended his overall championship lead to 30 points.
“I need a vodka” said Vergne on team radio after crossing the line and securing a wire-to-wire victory, but he had to settle for champagne on a sun-drenched podium.
Vergne’s only rival for victory was last year’s champion Lucas Di Grassi, but he held on for a win that puts him in an extremely strong position as the championship moves to Europe.
“I didn’t know if I could do it but I did,” said Vergne.
“I could feel the pressure but it was about holding on and in the end I did it.”
Bird, visibly cheered by another top three finish, spent much of his post-race press conference complaining about the team baseball cap he had been provided - “it looks like it’s been run over” - but eventually got down to business:
“The pace was okay today. I just really wanted the two ahead of me to fight a little more but I ran out of laps.
“I tried my best to hang onto the back of them, hoping they’d fight it out a little bit more but then I caught my front left wheel near the end and just had to settle for my position.
“It is nice to get another podium but it feels like damage limitation with Jean-Eric streaming ahead right now!”
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