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22 November 2014
Sam powers to dominant victory in Putrajaya ePrix
Virgin Racing Driver moves to second in championship
22nd November 2014
Sam Bird has taken victory in the second round of the 2014-15 Formula E Championship after a flawless performance around the streets of Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Paying tribute to his team, he said: "The guys at Virgin Racing did an amazing job this weekend. We've really turned it around from pre-season and I've got to say thanks to them for giving me a great car today.
"Virgin Racing are a team newly formed for Formula E, and for us to have two podiums in two races, a win already, and for me to be sitting here alongside Abt and e-dams, great credit has to go to them. It's going to take something special to keep beating these guys but I'm looking forward to the rest of the championship."
The result puts Sam second in the championship on 40 points, three behind leader Lucas di Grassi and more than 20 ahead of a four-way tie for third.
He dedicated the win to his former GP2 team-mate Jules Bianchi, who was seriously injured in a Formula One accident: "I want to dedicate this win to a good friend of mine who is currently very ill. We all know him and wish for him to make a full recovery. This win is for Jules Bianchi."
Sam's victory topped a day in which he made his mark from the opening laps, setting the pace in free practice and qualifying on the front row of the grid.
He hounded pole-sitter Oriol Servia from the start, seizing the lead after the first safety car period with a brilliant inside cutback exiting Turn 3 that gave him position to strike at the right-hand Turn 4.
The Briton then set a series of fastest laps to build a gap of more than seven seconds, but his speed did not prevent him from efficiently managing the power consumption of his car and he was the last driver to pit for the swap to a fully-charged replacement.
By then, a second safety car period had cost him track position and he lost the lead during the pit stops, but his pace allowed him to fight back. Lapping up to 1.5 seconds faster than the rest of the field, Sam retook the lead with three laps of the street circuit remaining and cruised home to register a 4.175sec victory over the chasing pack.
He said: "It has been an amazing weekend for myself and the Virgin Racing team. We were quick from the first outing and quickest in practice. Qualifying didn't quite go our way as I think we were not in the best group for doing a fast lap time but we put that right in the race.
"The first stint is where we did the damage. With the second car, I just got it around really - there was no real need to push and I just conserved the energy. I knew other people were pushing and getting closer, but we had it well under control.
"I made some nice moves when I had to when overtaking Abt and Servia, but other than that it was all about being quick and sensible."
Virgin Racing team principal Alex Tai said: "Sam drove a fantastic race and we are all thrilled to be top of the podium. It was a challenging circuit and credit to Sam, who dominated from the start with skillful and clever driving. We've got a great team of drivers and engineers and I'm really proud of the result."
Sam's victory, combined with the bonus points earned by his ninth-placed team-mate Jaime Alguersuari for setting the fastest lap, put Virgin Racing second in the championship by a single point from Audi Sport Abt.
Round three of the championship takes place in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on December 13.