What a race we saw in Diriyah this afternoon! So much happened with cars tangling, two safety cars and numerous penalties handed out. Despite the madness, Alexander Sims takes his first Formula E win!
Even before the race could begin, as the cars were starting their formation lap, we could see Jerome D’Ambrosio sitting stationary on the track. A reported issue with the settings of his car meant that he was unable to take the start and had to be pushed off the track. The remaining cars then found their way to their grid positions.
As the lights went green, Sims managed to fly off the starting line and created a good lead between the cars behind him. Much like Round 1, all cars kept it neat and tidy around the first few turns. Due to his grid place penalty for a new battery, Jean-Eric Vergne also had a stop/go penalty which he served in the first two minutes of the race. This would give him the best chance of trying to fight up the pack.
We saw the Formula E rookies fighting their way up the pack with Nyck De Vries finding his way up to 18th and James Calado slotting into 17th. Brendon Hartley almost found himself in the wall at turn 17 with 39 minutes remaining but controlled the car to stay on track. Moving back to the front of the grid, we saw Antionio Felix Da Costa taking Lucas Di Grassi after he locked up at turn 19. Sims was holding a great lead with 35 minutes remaining in the race.
Overtakes started happening left, right and centre as Mitch Evans tried to take Di Grassi but as he could not pull of the move, Sam Bird thought he would sneak pass the Panasonic driver to take the position. On lap 8 of the race, Da Costa hit the back of Sebastian Buemi which sent him spinning round at turn 19. This gave Da Costa a Drive Through Penalty for causing a collision. Buemi managed to get his car back in the right position but almost took out Felipe Massa in the process, earning him a 10 second time penalty later in the race. Unfortunately, the Diriyah E-Prix weekend had not gone well for Daniel Abt and today, he received a drive through penalty for a Throttle Map Infringement.
More madness ensued as Da Costa managed to overtake Di Grassi, which gave Bird the idea to pass Di Grassi at the same point but unfortunately, he got squeezed out. As he tried to rejoin, he got shunted in the wall by Evans as the track narrowed and there was nowhere for him to go. Bird did manage to keep the car going but was then hit by Pascal Wehrlein, which ended the Envision drivers race due to too much damage. This then prompted a Safety Car with 27 minutes remaining.
We managed to go green again 6 minutes later and Maximilian Gunther, who was running 5th at the time, managed to overtake two cars at once and slot into 3rd position (This move is currently under investigation – news to follow). Just as everyone was getting back into the swing of things, Robin Frijns had a sideways slide and landed in the wall, damaging his front left, which meant Safety Car number two with 17 minutes remaining.
7 minutes later and we were told the Safety Car was ending but very quickly, the stewards realised this was the wrong decision as Frijns’ car was still on track. A Full Course Yellow was called at 9 minutes and 50 seconds but ended 25 seconds later. Di Grassi immediately went through Attack Mode which gave Gunther and Stoffel Vandoorne the chance to pass but Di Grassi took 3rd back from Vandoorne using his top line speed. It was announced that Evans was given a Drive Through Penalty for causing a collision and the first Safety Car restart was put under investigation as there was many manoeuvres that needed to be looked at (News to follow). Massa was also given a Drive Through Penalty (which would be converted into a time penalty) for Pit Lane Speeding.
After all that pandemonium, it was Sims who dominated the Diriyah E-Prix in Round two and took his first ever Formula E win. Gunther managed to clinch his first Formula E podium with 2nd place and Lucas Di Grassi finishes the podium spots by coming home in 3rd place. We are yet to see the complete finished grid with many drivers still under investigation but we will bring all the news as soon as they are announced.
Round 1 and 2 are now over for Formula E and we take a bit of a Christmas break now as Round 3 with be in Santiago, Chile on Saturday 18th January 2020. Don’t forget to check back with Overtake Motorsport for all your Motorsport news and I will see you in January!
Feature Image: BMW Motorsport Twitter Page