STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

'The car was turning for me': Sam Bird on the race of his life

Article Image

Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird recalls all the twists and turns of the 2016 Formula E Buenos Aires ePrix - the race of his life.

Posted: Feb 20, 2020 7:50 PM
Updated: Feb 20, 2020 7:50 PM

Sports stars often talk about being in the "zone," that mythical place where good things happen.

For Formula E driver Sam Bird, his "zone" moment came in what he calls the "race of my life" in Buenos Aires in 2016.

The Briton led from the start and says he was at one with his car, although he described the experience as "intense" as he fended off a phalanx of challengers to clinch his first victory that season.

"Going through the final chicane of every single lap I just needed to show the front of the car the corner and the car was turning for me," he told CNN's Supercharged TV show.

"I don't think I ever really needed to do too much steering input, I just played with the rear like a rally car for 30 odd laps. It was really, really intense."

READ: 'Movement, vibration, dynamism': The helmet-cam that is revolutionizing Formula E

From winning on his hometown track in London in 2015 to crashing out in Mexico City earlier this year, the 30-year-old Bird has experienced nearly everything possible on the track.

But that race in the Argentine capital, the fourth event of Formula E's second season, gave Bird a much-needed boost after a sluggish start to the campaign.

He blitzed through qualifying to sit on pole before launching his blistering burst.

"I think I'd eaten my Weetabix that morning and I was able to secure pole position and then it really was the race of my life," Bird added.

Bird certainly did not have an easy ride, having to fend off the advances of both Lucas di Grassi and eventual Championship winner Sebastian Buemi during the race.

"I think I always had a car within half a second of the back of my car," he remembers. "I had Di Grassi breathing down my neck for most of the race and then Buemi came right from the back all the way to the front to put me under pressure."

Bird remained cool despite the heat behind and took advantage of FanBoost -- an opportunity for fans to vote for their favorite driver and award them an extra boost of power during the race -- to finish 0.716 seconds ahead of Buemi and claim his third career Formula E win.

"It was probably the hardest I've ever had to work in a single seater car, and I could not wait to see the chequered flag," added Bird, who is one of only four drivers to race for the same team for all six Formula E seasons alongside di Grassi, Oliver Turvey and Buemi.

"Honestly, that podium felt amazing. To get the first win for DS was a really, really big moment for us as a team and something I'll cherish for a long time."

While it was Virgin Racing's second season in the sport, it was its first season paired with the manufacturer DS Performance.

And Bird believes his wild ride in Buenos Aires helped put the company on the map in its debut season.

"DS had just joined Virgin Racing so they had just become a manufactured team and we had this new powerchain but it was really, really heavy, really over weight, super tricky to drive but we managed to win the race," he said.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos

In total, Bird has finished on the podium 18 times in his 62 races for Virgin, winning nine of them.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16041

Reported Deaths: 767
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds103526
Lauderdale74568
Madison74525
Neshoba70742
Jones66331
Scott66112
Forrest59439
DeSoto5538
Leake44712
Rankin4468
Holmes43928
Copiah3154
Jackson30813
Attala30318
Yazoo2864
Newton2824
Leflore27334
Lincoln27029
Monroe26525
Harrison2637
Oktibbeha25314
Lamar2485
Lowndes2309
Wayne2242
Pearl River21131
Pike20411
Adams20015
Noxubee1916
Washington1917
Warren18110
Covington1732
Jasper1654
Lee1657
Bolivar16511
Clarke15419
Smith15311
Kemper14711
Lafayette1414
Chickasaw13714
Coahoma1274
Winston1211
Marion1179
Carroll11711
Clay1154
Claiborne1122
Lawrence1061
Simpson1020
Grenada993
Yalobusha966
Tate951
Hancock9112
Itawamba897
Wilkinson859
Union857
Sunflower853
Montgomery851
Panola843
Marshall813
Jefferson Davis803
Tippah7611
Webster683
Calhoun674
Amite641
Walthall610
Humphreys597
Tunica563
Prentiss563
Perry513
Choctaw482
Pontotoc433
Jefferson431
Tishomingo340
Quitman340
Stone310
Franklin292
Tallahatchie291
George261
Greene221
Alcorn181
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18474

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2283118
Jefferson1882103
Montgomery180243
Tuscaloosa81616
Marshall7059
Franklin5768
Lee55234
Shelby52220
Tallapoosa43166
Butler41618
Walker3782
Elmore3739
Chambers35826
Madison3444
Morgan2971
Baldwin2929
Unassigned2922
Dallas2823
Etowah26112
DeKalb2563
Lowndes25512
Autauga2395
Coffee2381
Sumter2267
Houston2235
Bullock2136
Pike2080
Colbert1872
Hale1789
Russell1770
Barbour1751
Marengo1746
Lauderdale1672
Calhoun1653
Choctaw15310
Wilcox1527
Cullman1501
Clarke1482
St. Clair1311
Randolph1287
Marion12411
Dale1230
Pickens1215
Talladega1175
Limestone1080
Chilton1041
Greene954
Winston910
Macon864
Jackson833
Henry812
Covington811
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia743
Washington726
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe442
Geneva430
Perry420
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather