FE: Sims wins incident heavy Diriyah E-Prix

Alexander Sims won the second Diriyah E-Prix of the season after leading from lights to flag, surviving two safety car periods to sweep the field. 

After losing out with a tentative race strategy in yesterday’s race, Sims and the BMW-i Andretti squad were much more aggressive and did not relinquish control of the race at one point.

The use of Attack Mode once again played an important role in the development of the race with Sims being the first to take Attack Mode within the first 10 minutes of the race.

At the first safety car restart, which came as a result of yesterday’s race winner, Sam Bird, getting punted into the wall after some close scrapping with Mitch Evans for fourth position, Sims backed up the entire pack in a very shrew move so he could take his second Attack Mode and launch it into the lead knowing that no one could overtake him with Da Costa having to slow down to let him by.

Sam Bird (GBR), Envision Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE06, car after crashing © FIA Formula E
Sam Bird (GBR), Envision Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE06, car after crashing © FIA Formula E

Following that he had a consistent gap at the front which he controlled calmly until the next safety car which came about after Bird’s Envision Virgin teammate, Robin Frijns, lost the rear and hit the wall at turn 8. Sims blitzed the start and caught everyone napping to build a massive lead keeping him in control until the end of the race.

His BMW teammate, Max Gunther finished in second on the road but was penalised with a 24 second penalty to 13th. Lucas Di Grassi therefore finished in second, having to fight back past Vandoorne after losing out having to take Attack Mode close to the end of the race.

Max Gunther was penalised for the first safety car restart, in which many drivers took Attack Mode in the style of Sims, and Gunther went from fifth to third before the start line of the next lap despite the pace being picked up again.

Stoffel Vandoorne came home in third after starting 11th in another strong showing for the Mercedes-Benz EQ team. Edoardo Mortara followed Vandoorne in fourth place showing strong pace as he did in yesterday’s race which bodes well for Venturi in the rest of the season.

Oliver Rowland finished in fifth with Nyck De Vries behind him. De Vries is another who made up a lot of positions at the first safety car restart but starting on the back row and finishing on the road in seventh is a phenomenal achievement in such a competitive championship.

Oliver Turvey had a storming end to the race getting points for the NIO 333 team picking up a few positions on the last few laps as others conserved energy. A tactic Daniel Abt employed behind him. James Calado ended up in ninth following a penalty for Andre Lotterer for passing under the safety car.

Jean-Eric Vergne had it all against him at the start of this race having been dropped to the back of the grid following a battery change and considering he could not take all the required positions he had to immediately serve a stop-go penalty. To finish in 10th shows the calibre of the reigning champion but it will be a disappointing result for DS Techeetah to leave the first two races with only one point.

Brendon Hartley made up positions by the end of the race finishing in 11th place with the other DS Techeetah of Da Costa in 12th. He had to serve a drive through penalty for causing a collision early in the race when he came in to turn 18 and tapped the back of Sebastien Buemi’s Nissan e.dams who subsequently dropped to 14th at the time. Buemi eventually finished in 14th at the end after running close to his teammate but lost a lot of places on the final lap with very low energy.

Alexander Sims (GBR) BMW I Andretti Motorsports, 1st position congratulates Maximilian GŸnther (DEU), BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.20, 2nd position, take a selfie with their team and Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE06, 3rd position © FIA Formula E
Alexander Sims (GBR) BMW I Andretti Motorsports, 1st position, on the podium with Max Gunther (DEU), BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.20, 2nd position and Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE06, 3rd position © FIA Formula E

The two Tag Heuer Porsche drivers were classified 15th and 16th with Neel Jani ahead of Andre Lotterer following the German’s penalty. Behind them was Pascal Wehrlein who was penalised for his collision with Sam Bird as well as Mitch Evans who was penalised for his collision with Bird which led to him being put out of the race.

Ma Qing Hua and Felipe Massa rounded out the finishers. Massa had a difficult race after being penalised for starting out of position and then for overspeeding in the pitlane during his drive through penalty after running in the points.

Nico Muller, Robin Frijns, Sam Bird all failed to finish and Jerome D’Ambrosio failed to start the race after his car shutdown before the parade lap.

Race Results

Position Driver Team Time
1 Alexander Sims BMW-I Andretti 30 laps
2 Lucas Di Grassi Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler +2.817
3 Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes-Benz EQ +3.581
4 Edoardo Mortara ROKIT Venturi Racing +4.294
5 Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams +5.475
6 Nyck De Vries Mercedes-Benz EQ +7.318
7 Oliver Turvey NIO 333 Racing +16.544
8 Daniel Abt Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler +16.942
9 James Calado Panasonic Jaguar Racing +17.221
10 Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah +19.394
11 Brendon Hartley GEOX Dragon +20.702
12 Antonio Felix Da Costa DS Techeetah +22.634
13 Max Gunther BMW-I Andretti +25.383
14 Sebastien Buemi Nissan e.dams +26.291
15 Neel Jani Tag Heuer Porsche +27.493
16 Andre Lotterer Tag Heuer Porsche +29.046
17 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Racing +35.290
18 Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing +37.105
19 Ma Qing Hua NIO 333 Racing +40.165
20 Felipe Massa ROKIT Venturi Racing +45.758
DNF Nico Muller GEOX Dragon  
DNF Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing  
DNF Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing  
DNS Jerome D’Ambrosio Mahindra Racing