Formula E

Vergne Victorious in a Damp and Dynamic Rome E-Prix

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Jean Eric Vergne has secured his first victory of 2021 following a disastrous end to the Rome E-Prix for both Lucas Di Grassi and Mercedes EQ.

Formula E fans were denied a thrilling start to round three with the Rome E-Prix starting behind the safety car due to damp conditions on track.

Upon the eventual race start, Andre Lotterer made a late dive on race leader Vandoorne resulting in contact with the barrier for both drivers. Although both cars were able to continue, both fell down the order handing the lead to Oliver Rowland.

Image Credit: @PorscheFormulaE Twitter

Stewards later deemed Lotterer responsible for the incident with the German driver receiving a five second time penalty.

Alexander Sims was the only retirement in the early stages of the race, the Brit suffering from undisclosed technical faults. Meanwhile, race leader Oliver Rowland received a drive through penalty for excessive energy usage, this penalty moved second place Di Grassi into contention for race victory.

Soon after a battle for the lead emerged between Di Grassi and Vergne, the two former champions coming very close to contact at multiple points throughout the lap. DS Techeetah made a bold strategy choice, with Vergne the first driver from the leading pack to take attack mode, coming back into the race in sixth ahead of both Bird and Lotterer.

Image Credit: @DSTecheetah  Twitter

One lap later both Frijns and De Vries followed suit in taking attack mode, whilst race leader Di Grassi opted to wait a few laps longer before making the attack. When Di Grassi eventually did take attack mode the Brazillian found himself behind both Vergne and Frijins. Despite this disadvantage, Di Grassi made quick work of overtaking Frijns and was soon the tail of Vergne.

In the second round of attack modes, De Vries briefly entered contention before becoming the victim of overtakes by both Vergne and Di Grassi – The Dutch and Brazillian racers making minor contact, but both surviving mostly unscathed.

The closing ten minutes of the race delivered a four car battle for victory with Di Grassi making an ambitious (but successful) overtake into turn 4 to take the race lead from Vergne. In Vergne’s rear wing the Jaguar’s of both Bird and Evans were moving ever closer and looked set to challenge the two race leaders.

Image Credit: @JaguarRacing Twitter

However, any hopes of a showstopper finish were quickly banished following a dramatic accident involving Mercedes teammates Vandoorne and De Vries. This incident brought out the safety car as marshals attempted to recover Vandoorne’s stricken car.

Di Grassi’s victory now appeared secure, however there was one last twist in the tale.

In a cruel turn of fate, race leader Di Grassi was forced to retire from the race with a drive shaft issue – granting victory to Jean Eric-Vergne. Di Grassi’s retirement also awarded Jaguar their first ever double Formula E podium.

Image Credit: @FIAFormulaE Twitter

Sam Bird now leads the championship after three rounds, but with another race tomorrow, everything could change in FIA Formula E.


J. E. Vergne DS Techeetah
S. Bird Jaguar Racing
M. Evans Jaguar Racing
R. Frijns Envision Virgin Racing
S. Buemi Nissan E.Dams
R. Rast Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
P. Wehrlein Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
L. Lynn Mahindra Racing
M. Guenther BMW I Andretti Motorsport
N. Cassidy Envision Virgin Racing

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