With the lights out, it was BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alex Sims who pulled away in the lead after securing his second Pole in a row on day two of the 2019 SAUDIA Diriyah E-Prix.
Leading the way with Nissan e.dams’ Sebastian Buemi in second and Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi in third, the British driver maintained his position up front while DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa – who moved into fourth after Mahindra Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio retired from the race due to technical difficulties – was on the attack.
Making his way through the pack, da Costa was eager to make the podium, attacking Buemi and nudging the back of his car while sending him spinning into oncoming traffic. The Nissan driver rejoined the pack in 15th but came under investigation by the FIA.
With more than 30 minutes left on the clock, Bird was tapped by Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans going through Turn 4, before being tapped again by Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein going through Turn 5. The British driver – who clinched the win in the first race only a day before – met with the wall. With significant damage to his car, the Brit was out of the race.
After consideration by the FIA, Da Costa was handed a 10-second drive through penalty for causing the incident with Buemi, while the Nissan driver was also handed the same punishment for his re-entry into the race that was deemed unsafe.
While his teammate was already out of the race, fellow Envision driver Robin Frijns lost control of his Audi-powered car between Turn 5 and 6, hitting the wall sideways on Turn 7. Damaged and stranded in his car, the Yellow Flag was raised while his car was recovered.
With eight minutes left on the clock, Sims maintained his lead while , further down the pack, Jaguar’s Evans was handed a 10-second drive through penalty for the collision with Bird.
Taking his ATTACK MODE, di Grassi in third temporarily lost a position before blasting back past Mercedes-Benz EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne with 35kW of extra power. Not taking the ATTACK MODE, Sims’ teammate Max Guenther slipped into second as the two BMW’s led the way with only minutes left on the clock.
Stretching the lead to over three seconds with five minutes left on the clock, Guenther defended hard against di Grassi, holding the ATTACK MODE-enabled Brazilian at bay. With the added power, the Audi driver set the fastest lap on the attack against the German.
With both BMWs crossing the line in tandem, the Sims clinched his first ever race win in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship with his teammate in second and Audi’s di Grassi in third.
The next Formula E race takes place in the New Year in Santiago Chile. Be sure to join us then!
ABB FIA Formula E Championship, Round 2, Diriyah E-Prix:
- Alexander Sims, BMW i Andretti Motorsport, (28pts)
2. Lucas Di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, (18pts)
3. Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes Benz EQ Formula E Team, (15pts)
4. Edoardo Mortara, ROKiT Venturi Racing, (12pts)
5. Oliver Rowland, Nissan e.dams, (10pts)
6. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, (8pts)
7. James Calado, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, (6pts)
8. Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Techeetah, (4pts)
9. Brendon Hartley, GEOX Dragon, (2pts)
10. Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS Techeetah, (3pts, FL)
DRIVERS’ STANDINGS (after Rd 2)
|7||Lucas Di Grassi||18||0||18|
|9||Nyck de Vries||8||8||0|
|13||Antonio Felix Da Costa||3||0||3|
TEAMS’ STANDINGS (after Rd 2)
|1||Mercedes Benz EQ Formula E Team||38||23||15|
|2||Envision Virgin Racing||36||36||0|
|3||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||35||7||28|
|4||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team||26||0||26|
|6||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||18||18||0|
|7||ROKiT Venturi Racing||18||6||12|
|8||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||8||2||6|
|12||Nio 333 FE Team||0||0||0|