FE DIRIYAH – Sam Bird and Jaguar Racing won the race 2 of the opening race on Saturday, in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, after a race stopped by the red flag.
Sam Bird has retained the claim of being the only driver to win in every Formula E season to date after taking his 10th career victory in Saudi Arabia.
The British driver grabbed the victory after multiple on-track incidents caused the race to be red-flagged with just over two minutes remaining. It marked a turn fortunes for the Jaguar driver, who was forced to retire from yesterday’s race after a collision with fellow Brit Alex Lynn.
Pole sitter Robin Frijns finished second, with DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne in third after contact with teammate Antonio Felix da Costa.
Frijns got off to a decent start as second place Sergio Sette Camara locked up into Turn 1, allowing Bird to get past him.
Formula E 2020-21 Diriyah Race 2 E-Prix
The opening laps saw several dicey overtakes with da Costa squeezing past Sebastien Buemi for eighth and Dragon/Penske’s Nico Muller diving up the inside of Tom Blomqvist for fifth.
Mercedes EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne pitted early for a 10 second stop-go penalty, due to his powertrain change ahead of the race.
Vergne and da Costa managed to scrape past the NIO 333 car driven by Tom Blomqvist, after he ran wide.
Attack mode strategy proved to be crucial with several drivers getting caught out. Oliver Turvey and Muller both decided to take attack mode one after the other, but Muller was caught out by a charging Vergne and dropped to sixth.
Concerns were rising for Frijns, who was told he was overconsuming his energy. The Envision Virgin driver then took the first of his attack modes, dropping behind Bird.
He was able to pass the Brit once more for the lead, who then went for attack mode as well. However, Bird was overtaken by Camara, who was later dispatched once more by Bird and Vergne.
Further back, it was a strong showing for rookie Nick Cassidy, who moved up to ninth with a move on Blomqvist at Turn 9 as Rene Rast went around the outside of Mitch Evans at Turn 1.
A full course yellow was then deployed as Jake Dennis was forced to stop at the pit entrance. The BMW I Andretti driver stopped with heavy damage after being squeezed into the wall by Pascal Wehrlein – the Porsche driver was awarded a drive-through penalty for the incident.
Racing then got back underway with just over 20 minutes remaining, as the DS Techeetah duo closed the gap to the leading pair as Frijns managed to hold on to the lead.
Da Costa attempted to get past Bird but managed to lose out to his teammate. Both drivers were lucky to avoid a crash into Turn 20, after da Costa tried to squeeze past – he drove into the side of Vergne and narrowly missed being smashed into the wall.
Mahindra’s Alex Lynn discharged from hospital after FE Diriyah ‘aeroplane crash’
Mahindra Formula E driver Alex Lynn has escaped serious injury after what has been described as an “aeroplane crash” at the Diriyah E-Prix.
The second night race in Saudi Arabia was prematurely Red-flagged following a nasty accident involving Lynn and Jaguar’s Mitch Evans as they battled over 14th place in the closing stages.
While the crash was not broadcast live with the TV feed instead focusing on a separate accident involving BMW’s Maximilian Gunther and NIO333’s Tom Blomqvist further up the road, it is understood that Lynn was sent airborne after making contact with the rear of Evans’ car.
Lynn’s Mahindra flipped upside down and landed on its roll hoop before skidding along the ground and coming to rest up against the Turn 18 TecPro barriers.
The Briton was taken to hospital for evaluation but was later discharged having suffered only “some bumps and bruises” according to Mahindra team principal Dilbagh Gill, who accompanied Lynn to the hospital.
“The most important thing is that Alex is ok after his accident,” Gill said.
“It was a nasty accident, but it’s testament to the ongoing work that Formula E and the FIA do around safety that Alex only suffered some bumps and bruises and will be back racing with us in Rome.
Evans, who drove over to Lynn and got to speak to him before he was taken to hospital, said the incident resembled an “aeroplane crash”.
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FORMULA 1 BACK AT ISTANBUL PARK IN TURKEY
THE NEXT RACE 2021
|Bahrain ||26 Mar|
|14:30 - 15:30||Free practice 1|
|18:00 - 19:00||Free practice 2|
|15:00 - 16:00||Free practice 3|
|18:00 - 19:00||Qualifying|
|18:00 - 20:00||Race|
|Bahrain||57 laps||308.238 km|