Valencia E-Prix: De Vries wins as half of the drivers run out of energy

Nyck De Vries has won the Valencia E-Prix and become 2021’s first repeat winner as over half the field runs out of energy in the final two laps. 

After a significant number of safety cars throughout the race, energy was taken away from all the cars as is the regulation and starting the final two laps there was only a few percent for all the drivers.

They were cooked.

Only so many drivers actually made it to the end with 13 drivers not classified bv the end.

De Vries had been fighting past drivers to get into contention for the race lead all afternoon. First place had been held by Antonio Felix Da Costa since lap one and De Vries was closing up. He had passed Alex Lynn, he had passed Oliver Rowland, he had expertly driven in the wet and was right on the back of Da Costa.

There had been a few safety cars because of cars losing it in the wet conditions and being unable to get out of the gravel. Buemi was first when he was harpooned by Andre Lotterer and had to be recovered. Later on, Max Gunther went straight on and also got beached so he couldn’t reverse out. Sergio Sette Camara and Andre Lotterer also contributed to safety cars after getting in trouble too.

The energy reduction rules are to make sure energy control is still a part of FE races and to prevent a flat out end. This was championed by the drivers who are racing on tyres that are not designed for such flat out racing and wouldn’t be able to cope in Season 5. But a few aggressive reductions resulted in 19 Kw/h being removed over the whole race. And with 5 taken with two laps to go, it meant that most were unable to finish.

Mercedes, however, had judged it to perfection and Nyck De Vries, who had fought up to second throughout the race was able to take it easy at the end as everyone else tried to crawl to the end.

Second place went to Nico Müller who started the penultimate lap basically at the back. But because he had looked after his energy throughout the race and had 7% left to most people’s 3% or 4% he took a debut FE podium and the first for Dragon Penske since Season 4.

Stoffel Vandoorne had a rollercoaster afternoon too. He took pole this morning but was disqualified just before the race because of simply a clerical error. He started 24th and kept going and stuck to the energy guidelines he needed to and came through the field later on to take a very legitimate third place.

Fourth place went to Nick Cassidy who was coasting way behind 36 seconds behind the leader. Fifth was Rene Rast and Robin Frijns was the last driver within a minute. Antonio Felix Da Costa had been leading every lap until the second to last and ended up seventh officially.

The Safety Car – © FIA Formula E

These drivers were able to finish because they were able to regenerate just enough energy as they were coasting at the end and that got them to cross the line.

Da Costa had been having such a good race so made a noble pursuit to grab points. Alex Lynn had been having such a good race too and he classified eighth with Sam Bird and Lucas Di Grassi rounding out the top ten.

Jake Dennis and Jean-Eric Vergne were the last classified drivers with Vergne over four minutes behind the leader.

Unclassified drivers who ran out of energy were: Oliver Turvey, Tom Blomqvist, Norman Nato, Edo Mortara and Pascal Wehrlein.

Those who got beached in the gravel: Andre Lotterer, Mitch Evans, Sergio Sette Camara, Max Gunther and Sebastien Buemi.

And the two who were disqualified were Oliver Rowland and Alexander Sims.

There may be a variety of changes to the results and a few arguments about energy reduction to come later on.

But we go again, there is another race tomorrow. More rain forecast. Who knows what will happen tomorrow.