Formula E

Mercedes takes crushing 1-2 in Formula E opener

by Matt Beer
8 min read

Nyck de Vries emerged victorious in Formula E’s Diriyah E-Prix season-opener after his Mercedes EQ team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne lost the lead having missed the attack mode activation.

Vandoorne led the first half of the race from pole position, but the former McLaren Formula 1 driver missed the sensors when attempting to activate his second of two three-minute attack modes in the race.

This dropped Vandoorne behind his reigning champion team-mate de Vries, who ran away with the race lead thereafter.

It marks the second successive year that de Vries has won the Diriyah season-opener on a less than perfect weekend so far.

The Dutchman crashed in first practice and a mistake lost him his semi-final qualifying duel to Vandoorne and left him third on the grid.

But he recovered in style by passing Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis at the start and then Vandoorne when the Belgian made his attack mode activation error.

De Vries was 0.636s ahead of Vandoorne at the chequered flag, but in reality, was relatively unchallenged by his team-mate.

With the Mercedes duo largely unthreatened at the front of the field, the fight for the places behind them took centre stage in the second half of the race.

Stoffel Vandoorne (bel), Mercedes Benz Eq, Eq Silver Arrow 02

Porsche’s Andre Lotterer passed Dennis for third place through the second attack mode phase, and he fended off two attacks from Dennis shortly after, with the first prompting Dennis to complain of illegal defending.

But Lotterer couldn’t resist Dennis’ third attack as finally he got through despite making contact.

Dennis feared he had a puncture and told his team “something is wrong” but he held onto the final place on the podium until the end of the race.

Lotterer’s race fell apart thereafter, and he tumbled out of the points-paying positions, having used too much energy early on in the race.

Jaguar’s Sam Bird benefitted to finish fourth ahead of Venturi’s new signing Lucas di Grassi.

Di Grassi’s team-mate Edoardo Mortara recovered from a qualifying shunt to move from 12th on the grid to sixth place after passing Envision driver Nick Cassidy on the final lap of the race.

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans was eighth with two laps to go but lost positions to two-time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne and FE rookie Oliver Askew who collected two points on his series debut with Andretti.

Evans ended up 10th at the chequered flag ahead of Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein and the lead Nissan e.dams of Maximilian Guenther. Lotterer was 13th.

The first safety car of the season was deployed just over 10 minutes into the race, with practice pacesetter Oliver Rowland backwards on the exit of the fast Turn 16 right-hander.

Rowland, who was making his debut for the Mahindra team after two years with Nissan e.dams, ran into the back of the Envision of Robin Frijns into the Turn 14 right-hander and Frijns returned the favour a couple of corners later, sending Rowland into the barriers.

Frijns was handed a drive-through penalty later in the race and dropped out of 12th position, eventually finishing in 16th place.

The 2019-20 Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa was eliminated on the opening lap of the race, breaking the suspension on his DS Techeetah after coming off worst in a four-wide fight into Turn 1 at the rear of the field.

The other two 2022 rookies, Dan Ticktum and F1 convert Antonio Giovinazzi, finished in 18th and 20th respectively with Ticktum beating his more experienced NIO 333 team-mate Oliver Turvey.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Nyck de Vries Mercedes-Benz EQ Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 41 28 52m14.642s 1m09.611s 0 25
2 Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes-Benz EQ Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 41 13 +0.636s 1m09.684s 0 21
3 Jake Dennis Avalanche Andretti BMW iFE.021 41 0 +8.802s 1m09.884s 0 16
4 Sam Bird Jaguar TCS Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 5 41 0 +14.925s 1m09.733s 0 12
5 Lucas Di Grassi RokIt Venturi Racing Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 41 0 +15.152s 1m10.117s 0 10
6 Edoardo Mortara RokIt Venturi Racing Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 41 0 +16.015s 1m09.48s 0 8
7 Nick Cassidy Envision Racing Audi e-tron FE07 41 0 +17.265s 1m09.207s 0 7
8 Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah DS E-Tense FE21 41 0 +25.076s 1m10.214s 0 4
9 Oliver Askew Avalanche Andretti BMW iFE.021 41 0 +25.699s 1m09.63s 0 2
10 Mitch Evans Jaguar TCS Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 5 41 0 +27.32s 1m09.692s 0 1
11 Pascal Wehrlein TAG Heuer Porsche Porsche 99X Electric 41 0 +28.781s 1m10.08s 0 0
12 Maximilian Günther Nissan e.Dams Nissan IM03 41 0 +30.536s 1m10.462s 0 0
13 André Lotterer TAG Heuer Porsche Porsche 99X Electric 41 0 +31.521s 1m09.855s 0 0
14 Alexander Sims Mahindra Racing Mahindra M7Electro 41 0 +34.572s 1m09.891s 0 0
15 Sérgio Sette Câmara Dragon / Penske Autosport Penske EV-5 41 0 +36.781s 1m10.389s 0 0
16 Robin Frijns Envision Racing Audi e-tron FE07 41 0 +39.953s 1m09.431s 0 0
17 Sébastien Buemi Nissan e.Dams Nissan IM03 41 0 +41.334s 1m10.498s 0 0
18 Daniel Ticktum Nio 333 Racing NIO 333 001 41 0 +49.222s 1m10.341s 0 0
19 Oliver Turvey Nio 333 Racing NIO 333 001 41 0 +50.965s 1m10.394s 0 0
20 Antonio Giovinazzi Dragon / Penske Autosport Penske EV-5 41 0 +1m16.527s 1m10.789s 0 0
Oliver Rowland Mahindra Racing Mahindra M7Electro 7 0 DNF 1m10.201s 0 0
António Félix da Costa DS Techeetah DS E-Tense FE21 0 0 DNF 0s 0 0
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