Formula E

Mercedes make it 1-2 in last Round at home

The 2019/2020 season has come to a close after 6 races in 9 days. For Round 11, it was double dominance for the Mercedes-Benz EQ team with Stoffel Vandoorne securing his first win and Nyck De Vries claiming 2nd.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, lets take it back to the start of the race. As the lights turned green, we saw Rene Rast immediately put pressure on Sebastian Buemi for 3rd place, but unfortunately, had to stay in 4th. Eduardo Mortara also decided to put in an early move, which luckily for him, he pulled off by moving up to 6th at turn 1.

With both DS Techeetah’s starting near the back, it was a question as to who as to come out on top. The teammates went side by side on lap 1 but kept it nice and clean. Jean- Eric Vergne had managed to climb 3 places up to 18th with more cars in his sights. Vandoorne started off well and managed to keep a comfortable lead from Buemi behind.

De Vries, who started in 4th, breezed past Rast to move into the last podium position by the end of lap 1. This then gave the Dutchman the chance to close up to Buemi and pressure him for 2nd. Vandoorne then increased his lead to 1.6 seconds with 42 minutes remaining.

Robin Frijns started to get a little twitchy behind Mortara and fancied retaking the Venturi driver but decided to bide him time. Envision Virgin Racing teammate, Sam Bird, started his last race with the team in 14th place. Bird past Alexander Sims to gain a position and began fighting his way through the field. Frijns then was able to overtake Mortara, moving up to 5th.

We then saw a different tactic from the front runners as De Vries, running in 3rd, was the first person to use Attack  Mode. This caused him to lose a place to Rast but due to the extra energy, quickly regained his position. Teammate Vandoorne then followed this move, 1 lap later. The Begian lost first place to Buemi but, copying his teammate, regained top spot with 35 minutes remaining.

Rast then decided to give Attack Mode a go to overtake Buemi but had to settle back down in 5th. De Vries managed to gain another position, this time overtaking Buemi, giving Mercedes a potential 1-2 finish. This did not sit well with the Nissan driver who continued to swap places with the Dutchman, retaking 2nd around 5 minutes later.

Previous Champion, Vergne, continued to climb up the field, landing 15th place from Tom Blomqvist. Frijns was able to gain another place near the top as Rast activated his second Attack Mode. The German tried hard to regain ahead of him but Frijns moved up a place. Rast then completed the overtake a couple of laps later.

More drivers benefiting throughout the race was Bird taking Massa to move into 11th and Sims holding off Vergne to keep 14th place. Race leader Vandoorne then used his second Attack Mode and, once again, fell behind Buemi. Buemi then tried to gain an advantage by using his Attack Mode but as Vandoorne retook the lead, Buemi fell down to 4th behind Rast. However, 2 minutes later, Buemi got back into 3rd.

Looking at the drivers who started at the back, we saw Mitch Evans in 16th, gaining 7 places since the start. Vergne ticked off Gunther on his list to move into 13th place and had his sights set on Sims. The DS Techeetah driver got a little overconfident and nudged Sims at the back but received no penalty, just a warning.

Back up at the front of the pack, the fight for 2nd between De Vries and Buemi raged on. This time the Swiss driver winning the place, going ahead of the Dutchman. With 20 laps completed, Vandoorne still held a very comfortable lead of 1.4 seconds from the two squabbling cars behind him. Even further back, both Frijns and Rast used Attack Mode but held on to their places when rejoining the racing line.

Things continued to switch back and forth as we looked further down the field at who was moving up. Season 6 Champion, Da Cosra started todays race in 19th place but moved up into 14th place with 15 minutes to go. Gunther, who started 18th, had made it into the points by holding 10th. Vergne was the biggest gainer so far whilst running in 11th but moving up 10 places since the start.

A battle for 6th then brewed between Lucas Di Grassi and Alex Lynn. Lynn managed to fly past the Brazilian driver whilst in Attack Mode but got overtaken 1 lap later. Bird continued his assualt on the field by finding himself now in 8th place, pushing past Mortara.

We then heard an interesting piece of team radio from De Vries and the Mercedes team. The Dutchman was told he had 2% more usable energy than Buemi and 1% more than Rast behind him. De Vries started pressuring Buemi but seemed to be holding back for the best opportune moment to strike.

Di Grassi fancied another position in the last race of the year and was seen trying to squeeze past Frijns. The two went wheel to wheel at the hairpin but Frijns stayed ahead in 5th. Another gain for the Envision Virgin driver, Bird, who struck Lynn off the list and gained 7th place. Gunther also moved up by taking 9th from Mortara.

With all his Attack Modes now used, De Vries tried to tactic of his Fanboost win to fly past Buemi but couldnt get the move done. The race now only having 10 minutes to go as Vandoorne seemed untouchable out front. After his elation yesterday at his first Formula E win, Rowland lost one of his wheel arches and bowed out the race with less than 9 minutes remaining.

Bird seemed invincible climbing up the pack by now gaining 6th place, this time ahead of Di Grassi. Da Costa, who later explained he was smiling throughout the whole race, moved up to 11th place and set his sights on a points place finish. Seeing both Envision Virgin Racing cars doing well, Bird moved out the way to let his teammate pass with less that 5 minutes to go.

The Brazilian Audi Sport driver, Di Grassi, who had already overtaken Bird, pulled off an impressive dummy move by seeming to try the outside on Frijns. He then quickly swapped to the inside line and gained 6th place over the Dutchman. The two of them did make slight contact which caused Frijns to complain of bent streering. Frijns then was unable to finish the race due to this issue, becoming the second retirement.

As the last few laps of the race began, De Vries, who had been following Buemi as close as he could, finally took advantage of more energy. The Mercedes driver breezed past Buemi with 2 minutes left on the clock. Vergne had managed to move all the way from 21st to 7th and had to finish 6th in the points to be 2nd in the Driver’s Championship. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, this was not meant to be and he stayed 7th, clinching 3rd in the overall standings.

Dominating the race from start to finish, Vandoorne crossed the line to secure his first ever Formula E win. Teammate De Vries did a superb job of fighting Buemi and not only coming 2nd and claiming his first podium, but helping Vandoorne acheive 2nd in the Driver’s Championship.

After the race, Vandoorne leapt out of his car and spoke to Formula E commentator, Nicki Sheilds, who told him of his 2nd place Driver Standings. Vandoorne had no idea of what he had managed, saying“I got second? Wow, thats a bonus!”. The Belgian then went on to talk about todays performance, “we had knew we had good pace. Today was everything picture perfect”, not being able to hide the smile on his face, even behind his mask.

Sheilds also spoke to 2nd place winner today, De Vries, who could not hide his relief at finally gaining a trophy, saying “this is such a relief, it feels like a monkey coming off my back”. This double points finish gave Mercedes 3rd place in the Team Championship, behind Nissan e.dams in 2nd and, of course, DS Techeetah in 1st.

What a season Season 6 has been with having 5 round pre-Covid and then 6 races in 9 days within 1 country. We have seen a new Champion crowned, multiple different winners and significant driver changes throughout the year. We now look towards Season 7, the first World Championship Formula E season.

Thank you for sticking with us and we will be back for Season 7. Keep your eyes peeled on the other forms of Motorsport through our website and social media pages.

Feature Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz EQ Official Twitter Page

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