Motor Racing-Bird Wins Formula E opener with Porsche and Mercedes on podium

Britain’s Sam Bird won the opening race of the Formula E season in Saudi Arabia for Envision Virgin Racing on Friday, with series debutants Porsche and Mercedes making immediate appearances on the podium.

The 32-year-old fought through from fifth at the start to continue his record of winning in every season of the all-electric championship dating back to the first in 2014/15.

The win was also Bird’s ninth in Formula E, the third most of any driver.

Germany’s Andre Lotterer finished second for the Porsche team with Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne taking third place for Mercedes — with Audi claiming bragging rights also as powertrain provider to Bird’s team.

The Diriyah circuit on the outskirts of Riyadh hosts a second race on Saturday.

DS Techeetah’s French driver Jean Eric Vergne, winner of the last two championships, retired in the pits midway through the race.