EPRIX 1 VALENCIA – De Vries managed things neatly to go into those final laps with more energy than anyone else. He duly picked up the lead when reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa – who had led throughout – slowed, and officially won by 13s.
Nyck de Vries took victory after a chaotic last-lap energy miscalculation resulted in only 12 cars finishing upon Formula E’s inaugural Valencia E-Prix, held in wet conditions on Saturday.
VALENCIA E-PRIX – RACE 1 RESULTS
|1||Nyck de Vries||NED||Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team||24 Laps|
|2||Nico Muller||SUI||Dragon / Penske Autosport||+ 13.128|
|3||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team||+ 24.886|
|4||Nick Cassidy||NZL||Envision Virgin Racing||+ 36.903|
|5||Rene Rast||GER||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||+ 51.650|
|6||Robin Frijns||NED||Envision Virgin Racing||+ 52.985|
|7||Antonio Felix da Costa||POR||DS Techeetah||+ 1:09.538|
|8||Alex Lynn||GBR||Mahindra Racing||+ 1:33.405|
|9||Sam Bird||GBR||Jaguar Racing||+ 1:36.009|
|10||Lucas di Grassi||BRA||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||+ 2:11.946|
|11||Jake Dennis||GBR||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||+ 3:07.061|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||FRA||DS Techeetah||+ 4:19.582|
|DNF||Oliver Turvey||GBR||NIO 333 FE Team|
|DNF||Tom Blomqvist||GBR||NIO 333 FE Team|
|DNF||Norman Nato||FRA||ROKiT Venturi Racing|
|DNF||Pascal Wehrlein||GER||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team|
|DNF||Edoardo Mortara||SUI||ROKiT Venturi Racing|
|DNF||Andre Lotterer||GER||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team|
|DNF||Mitch Evans||NZL||Jaguar Racing|
|DNF||Sergio Sette Camara||BRA||Dragon / Penske Autosport|
|DNF||Maximilian Gunther||GER||BMW i Andretti Motorsport|
|DNF||Sebastien Buemi||SUI||Nissan e.dams|
|DSQ||Alexander Sims||GBR||Mahindra Racing|
|DSQ||Oliver Rowland||GBR||Nissan e.dams|
The 45 minute + 1 lap race proved to be an unusual affair from the outset owing to wet conditions, following a burst of rain during the build-up, which prompted a Safety Car start.
Antonio Felix da Costa’s race looked to be well-managed from the start, holding the lead and allowing Maximillian Guenther to fall into the clutches of Mahindra’s Alex Lynn.
However, the racing soon ground to a halt on Lap 2 as Porsche’s Andre Lotterer spun Sebastien Buemi into the gravel at Turn 9, triggering the safety car.
Da Costa was quick off the restart once again for DS Techeetah, as a train of cars began to form behind second-placed Guenther, who had fallen two seconds back from the Portuguese driver.
De Vries on the other hand was storming his way through the pack from seventh, passing Lynn around the outside of Turn 4 for third and then dispatching Guenther in the BMW i Andretti for second.
Wheel-to-wheel racing was in action throughout the field, with the second Mahindra of Alexander Sims making his way from 11th to fifth as Vandoorne charged up to 14th from the back of the grid.
With 25 minutes remaining, da Costa looked in control ahead of de Vries and Lynn, whilst Guenther’s race came to a sudden end as he beached himself in the gravel at Turn 2.
The return of safety car saw da Costa expertly manage the restart once more, as de Vries tried to stay in the DS Techeetah’s slipstream.
Behind the leading duo, the Mahindras duelled over over third as further back, Mitch Evans’ race ended prematurely. The Jaguar driver knocked into the side of Dragon/Penske’s Sergio Sette Camara and spun him into the gravel at Turn 9.
At the same time, Vandoorne and the second Dragon/Penske of Nico Mueller were battling side-by-side, after the Belgian driver drove through the gravel at Turn 8.
The race got back underway with 10 minutes remaining, as da Costa held the race lead ahead of de Vries. Further back, Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein and ROKiT Venturi’s Norman Nato fought over sixth.
The German driver was caught out as Nato passed him despite going through the gravel, allowing the Envision Virgin duo of Nick Cassidy and Robin Frijns to overtake him. His hard work was then undone as Nato went through the gravel again and dropped himself down to 10th.
With just over five minutes remaining, the safety car reappeared for the fifth time as Lotterer found himself stranded him the gravel at Turn 1. His Porsche team-mate Wehrlein also retired due to a safety issue with his brakes.
Restarting with 1 minute + 1 lap remaining would prove to be a recipe for chaos as da Costa’s race crumbled.
Energy mismanagement resulted in several drivers falling to below one per cent useable energy before the final lap, including race leader da Costa.
A baffling final lap ensued as De Vries smoothly moved his way up to the lead, as cars came to a halt on track all around him. He crossed the line ahead of Rowland and Sims, both of whom were swiftly disqualified for insufficient energy.
As a result, Mueller brought home Dragon/Penske’s first podium since Jerome d’Ambrosio’s third place at the Zurich E-Prix in Season 4. Additionally, due to all the disqualifications, Vandoorne was promoted to third for Mercedes’ first double podium this season.
Rookie Cassidy managed to come home in fourth place, as Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Rene Rast split the Envision Virgin duo, holding Frijns behind him in sixth.
After narrowly losing out on a lights-to-flag victory, da Costa’s only consolation will be that he was still able to bring home points in seventh.
Britain’s Lynn and Sam Bird had to settle for eighth and ninth, ahead of the second Audi of Lucas di Grassi.
BMW i Andretti’s Jake Dennis and DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne rounded out the finishers in 11th and 12th place.
In the end, the remaining 12 drivers were not classified after running out of energy. This included Rowland, Sims, NIO 333’s Oliver Turvey and Tom Blomqvist and the ROKiT Venturis of Nato and Edoardo Mortara.
Wehrlein, Lotterer, Evans, Sette Camara, Guenther and Buemi all retired earlier in the race.
As a consequence of the double podium, it is a Mercedes 1-2 at the top of the drivers’ standings, with de Vries on 57 points, nine in front of Vandoorne. The German team also assume the lead of the teams’ championship on 105 points, ahead of Jaguar Racing in second.
HIGHLIGHTS EPRIX 1 – DE VRIES WINS WET VALENCIA HIGHLIGHTS EPRIX 1 – DE VRIES WINS WET VALENCIA EPRIX 1 VALENCIA EPRIX 1 VALENCIA