Mercedes driver Nyck De Vries establishes himself as a Championship contender with a dominant victory in Diriyah.
Round one of Formula E season 7 made history on Friday night as the streets of Diriyah played host to the championship’s first ever night race.
Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries started on pole after a stunning qualifying performance ahead of Pascal Wehrlein for Porsche and Rene Rast for Audi. Defending champions DS Techeetah started from the back of the grid, leaving the Chinese team with a lot of ground to make up over the 45 minute race.
De Vries immediately established a comfortable lead as Wehrlein suffered from wheel spin away from the line. Sam Bird was the biggest gainer over the opening laps, putting his Jaguar into P7 behind the Mahindra of Alex Lynn. An ambitious overtake from Bird soon after moved the Formula E veteran into P6.
As De Vries and Wehrlein activated their first attack mode, Rene Rast moved ahead of the Porsche into second. In the chaotic minutes that followed, the battle for P3 intensified with Mortara, Evans and Lynn battling for position. Mortara was the temporary victor, impressively overtaking both Evans and Wehrlein for P3.
A premature end for Bird and Lynn
Halfway through the race, Rast began gaining quickly on De Vries but a dramatic collision between the Jaguar of Sam Bird and the Mahindra of Alex Lynn halted Rast’s progress. Lynn’s late defence following an overtaking maneuver from Bird sent both cars into the wall, ruining the race prospects for both racers. This incident led to the deployment of the safety car with just over 20 minutes of the race remaining.
Upon the restart De Vries held position, but with his advantage eliminated, Rast and Mortara looked strong. As De Vries entered his final attack mode, Max Gunther suffered a hard collision with the apex wall, deploying the safety car for a second time with just under 10 minutes remaining on the clock.
The BMW Safety Car returned to the pits with just under 6 minutes remaining. In the closing minutes, Rast and Evans battled for the final podium position with the Jaguar of Evan’s victorious as the race came to a close.
However, nobody could catch De Vries who dominated the race from start to finish and sealed his maiden victory in Formula E. Mortara returned home in second for an impressive result for Venturi with Evans sealing third in a day of mixed fortunes for Jaguar. Defending championships Techeetah finished outside the points with both cars. But with another race tomorrow, anything can happen in FIA Formula E.
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- De Vries Mercedes EQ Formula E Team
- E. Mortara ROKIT Venturi Racing
- M. Evans Jaguar Racing
- R. Rast Audi Sport ABT Shaeffler
- P. Wehrlein Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
- O. Rowland Nissan E Dams
- A. Sims Mahindra Racing
- S. Vandoorne Mercedes EQ Formula E Team
- L. Di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Shaeffler
- O. Turvey Nio 333 FE Team
Move of the race – Mortara’s double overtake on Evans and Wehrlein
Driver of the Race – Dominant De Vries
Best Overtaker – Di Grassi making up seven places
Most Shocking Moment – Lynn and Bird Collide ending both their races.
Biggest Talking Point – Defending championships Techeetah finish round one outside the points.
Featured Image Credit: @MercedesEQFE Twitter