In the most bizarre end to any Formula E race, Nyck De Vries secured victory for Mercedes-EQ ahead of only TWELVE classified drivers.
Less than an hour before the start of the race, Stoffel Vandoorne was stripped of his pole position following a tire infringement. As a result, Antonio Felix Da Costa was promoted to pole position ahead of Max Gunther.
However, in another significant development, Stewards announced that the race would commence behind the safety car. This decision followed a period of heavy rain over the Ricardo Tormo Circuit. As the race commenced, it became clear that this would not be the last we would see of the safety car!
Upon the start, Da Costa made a clean getaway whilst drivers further down the order jostled for position. A collision soon occurred between Andre Lotterer and Sebastian Buemi with Lotterer breaking too late into the corner and making contact with the Nissan E Dams. Several drivers were caught up in the aftermath but most escaped without damage. Lotterer later received a drive through penalty for causing the incident.
The safety car was once again brought out so that Marshals could retrieve Buemi’s Nissan E Dams.
Upon the restart, Da Costa once again made a clean getaway whilst De Vries carved through the grid in a dominant display, quickly moving into second. Several drivers went wide or headed into the gravel whilst attempting overtakes on the slippery circuit. Meanwhile, Vandoorne (like teammate De Vries) progressed through the order making steady progress into P14.
HOW MANY SAFETY CARS?
Max Gunther’s retirement from the race around the halfway point, deployed the safety car once more. The German driver became beached at turn two whilst battling for position and could not rejoin the race.
The reduction of Da Costa’s advantage brought De Vries back into contention for victory with the Mercedes driver slipstreaming the Techeetah. However, De Vries’ attack was temporarily halted as the safety car (once again) made an appearance.
This followed another collision which occurred 15 minutes before the end of the race with Sette Camara and Evans forced to retire. Evans’ retirement marked yet another miserable moment in the weekend of the despondent Jaguar team.
On the restart it looked set to be a two horse race between the growling Techeetah and the pacy Mercedes. Da Costa strategically took Fan Boost giving him enough room to initiate his final attack mode without losing track position to De Vries.
Meanwhile, Wehrlein and Nato lost position to the two Envision cars who made better use of the wet conditions. Things quickly became worse for the Porsche team as Lotterer became beached in the gravel after colliding with Mortara. Pascal Wehrlein also retired shortly after due a safety issue with his brakes.
However, nothing could prepare either drivers or teams for the insanity that occurred in the final minutes of the race.
WHO WILL BE CLASSIFIED?
As Da Costa went over the line to start the final two laps of the race, all drivers fell victim to an energy reduction by the Stewards which left the field with seriously low levels of power to reach the checkered flag.
Nato was the first to fall victim but over half the field quickly followed, prompting the most bizarre finish to any Formula E race. In the end, only 12 drivers successfully reached the checkered flag with De Vries securing victory ahead of Muller and Vandoorne.
Follow Overtake Motorsport to stay updated with the developments from the Stewards Office as they unfold this evening.
Featured Image Credit: @MercedesEQFE