Stoffel Vandoorne has won the second 2021 Rome E-Prix after a masterful drive calling it “redemption” after he missed out yesterday.
Vandoorne was able to take the lead because of an early Attack Mode activation which leapfrogged him ahead of the Porsche driver, Pascal Wehrlein. They both had benefitted from the early capitulation of Nick Cassidy’s race.
From then on, Vandoorne didn’t look back and built himself a 5 second lead over the cars behind was able to conserve energy till a late race safety car brought him under pressure.
He was able to slow the pack up so it was a 1 lap shootout and he came home for victory with Alexander Sims behind in second for Mahindra.
Pascal Wehrlein was third benefitting from a penalty for Norman Nato who finished in third on the road but just misjudged his energy usage and was at 0% as he crossed the line and was disqualified.
Nato’s teammate Edo Mortara was able to just about abtle to hold on to fourth and was impacted with the same issues as Nato was but with a bit more experience, was able to make it.
Mortara was sideways on the final lap but somehow held it and didn’t let anybody past to take well deserved high finish.
The race started under safety car but only for one lap which took a few drivers by surprise with a huge gap half way down the field when the race did start but that didn’t affect the leaders who got under way.
But at the first braking point, Nick Cassidy, the polesitter, locked his rear brakes and spun round handing the lead to Norman Nato immediately who set the early pace until he was passed by Wehrlein and Vandoorne.
Cassidy, who was fighting back down the order was then nerfed into the wall by Oliver Rowland and then got a puncture. His race simply became a test at the back of the field.
That was when they pulled out a lead for Attack Mode which Vandoorne took first. He was able to close to the back of Wehrlein who then took it hoping to be able to repass Vandoorne with his own advantage but then more drama struck when Lucas Di Grassi smashed into the wall after an aggressive defence on old rival Sebastien Buemi.
Di Grassi’s accident brought out the Full Course Yellow which negated any chance to get back past for Pascal Wehrlein and after that Vandoorne waltzed away.
Alexander Sims, who had got himself into third with some early Attack Mode usage too, then passed Wehrlein simply by getting onto the power much earlier than the Porsche driver and took second place and stayed there.
A late race safety car closed the field because of another Audi accident. René Rast got a bad snap of oversteer and broke his rear right suspension and that was cleared for one final lap shootout.
Sims wasn’t able to get past for the win and Vandoorne kept it clean to take the win for Mercedes.
Fifth went to Max Günther who was also sideways on the final lap but finally got a good result under his belt in a patchy season so far. Mitch Evans quietly and cleverly raced to sixth bringing some much needed points to Jaguar in the first Season 7 race where they didn’t have a podium.
Antonio Felix Da Costa proved the pace of Vergne yesterday wasn’t a fluke racing from 15th the 7th with every move clinically carried out and took some very well deserved points.
Sebastien Buemi finished about where his pace was in 8th with Tom Blomqvist and Nico Müller rounding out the points.
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) April 11, 2021
Jean-Eric Vergne was in 11th place with Sergio Sette Camara in 13th ahead of two comeback drivers in Jake Dennis and Oliver Turvey who benefitted from other’s misfortune.
Andre Lotterer, Oliver Rowland, Alex Lynn and Robin Frijjns rounded out the finishers with penalties for all of them but Lynn who just needed to take Attack Mode right at the end and that dropped him right to the back.
Championship leaders Sam Bird and Nyck De Vries crashed at the end on the final lap after De Vries lost control akin to Günther and Mortara and collected Bird and both couldn’t stop and hit the wall.
Cassidy, Rast and Di Grassi didn’t finish with Nato unfortunately disqualified.
Formula E returns in two weeks in Valencia.