Formula E: Rita Ora looks on as Sam Bird wins in Santiago
Pop star Rita Ora was pit-side as British driver Sam Bird secured his first Formula E victory of the season in a sunny Santiago.
The singer-songwriter was treated to a tour of the garages — meeting the drivers and taking a spin with CEO Alejandro Agag before the racing got under way in sweltering conditions in Chile.
Temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius on the track, making it the hottest ePrix on record.
Ora, who hosts a global tour this year, joins a list of celebrities to soak up the sights and sounds of the electric race series, now in its fifth season.
Kylie Minogue was in Santiago last year, while Idris Elba took a drive of a Formula E car in Paris. Orlando Bloom was less successful when he got behind the wheel in Marrakesh last year as he collided with the track wall.
“Amazing day at FIA FormulaE thank you so much for having me,” Ora tweeted Saturday.
It will have been all the more enjoyable after seeing fellow Briton Bird cross the line first, holding off former F1 driver Pascal Werhlein in the closing stages.
Bird started Saturday’s race from sixth on the grid, but worked his way up to second behind 2015-16 champion Sebastien Buemi, who started on pole after pace-setter Lucas di Grassi was moved to the back of the pack for cutting a chicane in qualifying.
Buemi, however, crashed out with 11 laps to go and Virgin Racing’s Bird took the advantage.
He needed to hold off a late charge from Werhlein but eventually finished six seconds clear of the German. Audi’s Daniel Abt rounded off the podium positions.
“Everyone was struggling out there, so I’m absolutely delighted to bring it home,” said Bird, who moved up to the top of the standings after Jerome D’Ambrosio was handed a five-second penalty, dropping from eighth to 10th.
For Werhlein, who joined Mahindra after two seasons in Formula One, Santiago was a positive sign of things to come in what was just his second start in Formula E.
“The team and I are a perfect fit and a perfect match,” he said.
“In the first race everyone was so kind to me and were saying what Jerome achieved I could have probably achieved as well. They’re giving me a lot of trust, confidence and I want to deliver the best.”
After two races in a fortnight, the Formula E championship takes a three-week break, resuming in Mexico City on Feb. 16.