Sam Bird has admitted his brace of New York ePrix victories have left him with “mixed emotions”, after reaching an agreement with Ferrari to skip the clashing WEC 6 Hours of Nurburgring.
DS Virgin Racing driver Bird won both races during Formula E's inaugural visit to Brooklyn, ending a victory drought that stretched back to last year's Buenos Aires race.
It gives the British driver an outside mathematical chance at winning the championship, as he now lies 57 points behind series leader Sebastien Buemi – who was absent from New York – with 58 left to play for in the season-closing Montreal double header later this month.
Nonetheless, Bird expressed regret he had to miss the Nurburgring WEC event to claim his victories, as Ferrari teammates James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi took victory in the GTE Pro class.
Asked by Motorsport.com if his wins vindicated his decision not to race at the Nurburgring, Bird replied:
"That's a mixed emotion.
"I would never want to miss a Ferrari race, I'm so proud to be a Ferrari driver as well, but I'm obviously I'm proud also to win two races for my team here.
"I hope that this will never happen again."
Watch our Motorsport Report New York ePrix special:
Rosenqvist: Bird in a "different league"
Bird's closest competition in Sunday's second race came from Mahindra's Felix Rosenqvist, who led the early exchanges after getting ahead at the first corner before the Bird reclaimed the advantage with a lunge at Turn 6.
A technical problem meant Rosenqvist couldn't maintain the pace later in the race, but the Swede admitted Bird was in a "different league".
"He was pushing me quite hard, but in the first stint we were managing to keep the same energy, so it was not like he was a lot better," he said.
"He made a very late move into Turn 6 and I didn't want to risk a crash, so I let him go. My engineer said it was OK because we were still looking good on energy.
"Then after the pitstop he seem to have something we didn't, and then we also had a technical problem that we had to fix. Maybe that cost us something, but Sam was in a different league today."
Rosenqvist and Bird are split by only four points in the battle for third in the championship heading to Montreal, the Swede also having a mathematical shot at overall title glory.
*Interviews by Julia Piquet