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Bird laments “missed opportunity” despite cutting points deficit

Zurich E-Prix – DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird says he had a “missed opportunity” to further cut into Formula E championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne’s points advantage.

Bird was languishing 40 points behind Vergne going into the inaugural Zurich race, but a difficult day for Vergne where he finished tenth with Bird second cut the deficit to 23 points ahead of the New York double header finale.

Despite this he still feels more was possible to further trim the gap in the championship, having missed out on pole position which is worth three points.

“I was disappointed after qualifying. I really felt like I had a missed opportunity to get three extra points for pole position,” he said.

“The first two-thirds of the lap where the best I’ve driven in Formula E to be honest, then I threw it away at the chicane so I was pretty disappointed with myself to be lining up in third.”

Bird struggled for race pace compared to those around him, and could have been running as low as sixth were it not for drive-through penalties for Mitch Evans, Sebastien Buemi, Jose Maria Lopez, Andre Lotterer and Vergne.

He dominated the New York double header last season, taking a pole and both wins, but says he cannot lose focus despite almost halving Vergne’s points lead.

“It’s just apparent that I have to lift more than the people around me. That’s just the way it is. It’s been the way all this season but we’ve got ourselves in this fantastic position and now with the second place today, with a little bit of luck I have to say.

“We spoke about momentum in Rome. It’s easy to get carried away. If JEV has a bad one all of sudden I’m the one with the momentum. It’s just one race.

“I need to beat him in the first race in New York. End of story. I need to put the pressure on for race two. If I can do that there’s a chance.

“We need to come away from here, still learn and apply ourselves correctly when we get to New York, have a great first race, then we’ll see.”

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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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