Mercedes’ Nyck de Vries won Race 1 of Valencia Formula E weekend after energy chaos, with Stoffel Vandoorne in P3 behind Dragon’s Nico Mueller.
There was disppointment at Mercedes camp even before the start of the Formula E Race 1 at Valencia, with Stoffel Vandoorne losing pole due to technical infringement. Teammate Nyck de Vries also had to start from seventh instead of second due to Rome penalty.
DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa led the way behind the safety car due to wet weather conditions, as he led BMW Andretti’s Maximiliam Guenther, Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn, Nissan’s Sebastien Buemi and Porsche’s Andre Lotterer in the Top 5.
The order changed on start when Lotterer tapped the back of Buemi in the chicane, which created a messy situation. The Swiss Formula E driver retired as the German was handed a drive-through penalty. It got Venturi’s Norman Nato in fourth from Nissan’s Oliver Rowland.
The Top 10 was rounded by Mahindra’s Alexander Sims in seventh, Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein eighth, Virgin’s Nick Cassidy ninth and Robin Frijns 10th. There was also a 10s stop and go penalty for Audi’s Lucas di Grassi for gearbox change.
Teammate Rene Rast and Dragon’s Nico Mueller, meanwhile, went off road, while the fight at the front got tasty with da Costa leading. De Vries made up two places to second, with Lynn getting through Guenther too. The German’s day ended up in the gravel.
This resulted in a safety car as da Costa led de Vries and Lynn. On re-start, it was Sims on the charge as he passed Rowland for fourth, while Nato steadied in sixth from Wehrlein, Frijns, Cassidy and BMW Andretti’s Jake Dennis in the Top 10.
There was another safety car when Dragon’s Sergio Sette Camara was spun around by Jaguar’s Mitch Evans. The Brazilian was beached on the gravel, while the Kiwi pitted due to damage – both retiring from Race 1 of the Valencia Formula E race.
Just before the safety car, Sims passed Mahindra teammate Lynn, when the latter took his Attack Mode, for third, as ahead of him de Vries was hurrying da Costa. The re-start saw some good fights with Lynn losing fourth to Rowland in a solid move.
In fact, Lynn dropped to sixth after Frijns went through him. The Dutchman made a solid move against Nato and Wehrlein, bringing teammate Cassidy along in tricky conditions. The Kiwi was right behind his teammate after he managed to clear Lynn as well.
Nato dropped to ninth behind Jaguar’s Sam Bird, as Dennis was 10th. The Formula E race was neutralised again when Lotterer went off after his fight against Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara, which required a safety car intervention.
The move was under investigation, as Wehrlein pitted to retire. Vandoorne, meanwhile, was handed a 5s penalty for causing a collision. The re-start was not chaotic on track but certainly in the car and garages, with majority of the field with no energy.
Among the front-runners, only De Vries had enough energy to see the chequered flag to win Race 1 of Valencia Formula E weekend, as Rowland and Sims ended up third on the road. But the order changed totally, as both were without energy on the line.
It was Mueller in fourth but was promoted to second, with Vandoorne ending up third despite starting last and getting penalties. Cassidy slotted in fourth from Rast, Frijns, da Costa, Lynn, Bird and di Grassi in the Top 10.
Dennis ended 11th with DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne in 12th, who was the last to be classified. Some of the drivers in points, pitted just before the final lap, which helped to save some energy and eventually finish the race to be classified.
#ABBFormulaE #ValenciaEPrix1 Change in results as a lot of drivers crossed the line without enough energy. That means @nyckdevries still wins but @svandoorne , who started at the back, finishes P3. Mueller takes 2nd. #MsportXtra @FormulaEZone pic.twitter.com/jntGJ0F4Ry
— #MsportXtra (@MsportXtra) April 24, 2021
UPDATE: Post-race, several more penalties were awarded to the drivers, which included Vandoorne, di Grassi and Evans. The former got it for not using the total amount of time allocated for Attack Mode and was handed 10s time penalty.
He remained third, while di Grassi failed to take the second Attack Mode, which resulted in a drive-through penalty, converted to 30s time penalty. Evans, meanwhile, gets a three-place grid drop for colliding with Camara in the Eprix.
While Vandoorne remained third despite the penalty, di Grassi actually gained multiple places, as da Costa, Lynn and Bird were also disqualified due to over energy use. This pushed di Grassi to seventh, Dennis to eighth and Vergne ninth – where only nine classified finishers are noted.