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'we can fight'

Zurich E-Prix: Brit Sam Bird keeps Formula E Championship battle against Jean-Eric Vergne alive in eventful race

DS Virgin driver was catapulted into the podium places after five drivers, including his title rival, were hit with drive-through penalties

BRIT Sam Bird capitalised on handful of penalties to keep the Formula E Championship chase alive in the Zurich E-Prix.

Meanwhile Lucas Di Grassi won the first race in Switzerland since 1954, with Bird in second and Jerome d’Ambrosio in third.

 Sam Bird (left) finished second on the podium alongside Lucas Di Grassi (middle) and Jerome d'Ambrosio (right)
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Sam Bird (left) finished second on the podium alongside Lucas Di Grassi (middle) and Jerome d'Ambrosio (right)

But Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne finished in tenth placed after an eventful race in the bumpy streets of Zurich.

The all-electric race was turned on its head when five drivers, including Vergne, were hit with drive through penalties.

These penalties were issued for going over the speed limit during the full-course yellow flag.

Bird, racing for DS Virgin, has cut the gap between himself and Vergne to 23 points, ahead the season finale, which is a double header in New York.

 Sam Bird capatalised on a number of penalties in Zurich
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Sam Bird capatalised on a number of penalties in Zurich
 Former Formula E champion Lucas Di Grassi celebrated his first win of the season
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Former Formula E champion Lucas Di Grassi celebrated his first win of the season

Vergne’s first hiccup was in the cobbled pit lane as he lost time while getting buckling into his second car, before struggling to start his vehicle.

Fellow Brit, Oliver Turvey, did Bird a favour in the closing stages of the race as he held onto ninth to reduce Vergne to picking up just one point.

Bird bounced back from a disappointing qualifying session to be in contention to win the championship in New York, where he won both races last year.

 Jean-Eric Vergne had a dismal day in Switzerland
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Jean-Eric Vergne had a dismal day in Switzerland

He said: “I was disappointed after qualifying, I really felt like I had missed an opportunity to get three extra points for pole position.

“The first two thirds of the lap were one of the best I have driven in Formula E and then I threw it away at the chicane so I was pretty disappointed with myself to be lining up in third.”

He added: “We have got ourselves in this fantastic position and thankfully now in second place, with a little bit of luck I have to say, we can fight in New York.

“And we all know what happened in New York last year.”

Former Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg drives Formula E car round Berlin city centre