McLaren claim first ever victory as Bird stuns in São Paulo


Sam Bird claimed a stunning victory at the 2024 São Paulo E-Prix, following a phenomenal last-lap overtake on former teammate Mitch Evans.

Bird started from fifth and led the majority of what was a hectic race, as the peloton-style returned with a bang. His win marked McLaren’s first in Formula E and his first since New York in Season 8.

Evans had to settle for second whilst his teammate, championship leader Nick Cassidy, crashed out in dramatic fashion.

Completing the podium was Nissan’s Oliver Rowland, cementing back-to-back rostrums for the British driver. Reigning World Champion Jake Dennis had to settle for fifth.

Pascal Wehrlein claimed fourth, whilst Antonio Felix da Costa finished sixth, Jean-Eric Vergne in seventh, Stoffel Vandoorne in eighth, with Maximilian Günther and Sebastian Buemi completing the top 10.

Porsche push to the front

It was Wehrlein who made the best start as everyone else diced for position in the opening corners, with Evans having been the big winner after overtaking Vergne.

Da Costa also made up several places and suddenly found himself in third. Immediately though, it became clear that similarly to last season, nobody wanted to lead the race.

Come the third lap and suddenly it was a factory Porsche one-two, as the pace dropped considerably. The lead changed constantly in the opening laps, with Sam Bird having moved into what was effectively an irrelevant lead.

Elsewhere, Cassidy had significant front-wing damage, as a result of the field constantly bunching up at the tight Turn 3 hairpin.

It returned to a Porsche one-two on the seventh lap after Bird activated his first Attack Mode, which happened moments before a safety car was required to clear Cassidy’s front-wing damage.

Dennis makes his move

The safety car gave the drivers a moment of rest bite, which was very welcomed in what were scorching conditions. Track temperature was 60 degrees Celsius, cooking the Hankook tyres.

Racing resumed on the ninth lap of the E-Prix, with Wehrlein having led the field into the opening corner. He quickly gave up the lead to Bird again though, after opting to take his Attack Mode.

By Lap 10, Bird led the way ahead of Evans and Da Costa, with Wehrlein and Vandoorne completing the top five. As for the championship leader and the reigning World Champion, they found themselves in seventh and eighth.

A driver on the charge was Maximilian Günther, who was rescued by the safety car after taking a 10-second time penalty prior to it. On the 12th lap, he’d gotten into 12th.

Norman Nato and Nico Müller became the next drivers to lose their front wings, in what was becoming a game of who could escape damage. The lead continued to change as drivers were keen to get into the slipstream, with Dennis having moved to the front.

As for his teammate, he was given a five-second time penalty for hitting Müller, who was forced to pit for a front-wing change.

Cassidy suffers scary shunt

As the race reached its halfway point, Bird found himself back in the lead; however, there was drama for the championship leader. Cassidy ran over his front-wing which speared him into the wall on the way into Turn 10.

The impact ripped off his left-rear tyre and ended his three-race podium streak. It resulted in a second safety car and which lasted several laps. Action finally resumed on Lap 20, with Bird leading Evans, Wehrlein, Dennis and Da Costa across the line. As for Günther, he’d progressed to ninth.

Considering the chaos that unfolded prior to the second safety car, the remaining 21 drivers were all very well behaved at the restart. Few overtakes were made over the coming laps, with Bird having remained in the lead.

Further down the field, Müller’s race went from bad to worse, as he came to a halt at Turn 1. Almost a minute later, he managed to resume.

Lap 28 and Evans made his move to the front, with Dennis having overtaken Wehrlein for third. With six laps remaining, it was the Andretti driver with the most energy.

Bird magic

As the race entered its final four laps, Evans remained in the lead, ahead of Bird and Dennis. The factory Porsche drivers sat in fourth and fifth. However, a gap between Wehrlein and Da Costa allowed the top four to escape.

All of a sudden, Evans and Bird built a gap to Dennis in third on the penultimate lap, with Dennis seemingly suffering from an overheating car. It was a two horse race for the victory as they entered the last lap.

Bird tried to go around the outside of Evans at Turn 3, but Evans made his car as wide as possible. The McLaren driver had one final trick up his sleeve around the outside on the way into Turn 10, much to the surprise of Evans.

The Briton crossed the line to secure his first win since the Season 8 New York E-Prix and McLaren’s first in Formula E. Evans had to settle for second whilst Rowland suddenly overtook Dennis and Wehrlein for third.

Make sure you watch the best F1 videos on YouTube with RacingNews365 as our first-class team of experts bring you the latest news, views, podcasts and analysis from a record-breaking 24-race calendar.

Follow RacingNews365 on YouTube



Leave a Comment