Jaguar TCS Racing’s Mitch Evans claimed victory on the streets of Rome for the second time in his ABB FIA Formula E World Championship career, pulling away from the field leading Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns and Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne in third.
Despite starting on Pole, Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne let his lead slip on the streets of Rome, giving way to a determined Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing), who stormed to victory after starting ninth on the grid. Close behind Evans was Envision’s Robin Frijns who held on to his second place start, despite dropping up and down the order during the race.
Just missing out on the Podium was DS TECHEETAH’s Jean-Eric Vergne, who finished fourth. Once a winner here in Rome, the Frenchman held firm, finishing ahead of Jaguar’s Sam Bird and his DS teammate Antonio Felix da Costa.
For reigning champion Nyck de Vries, the Mercedes driver failed to finish to race, retiring after slowing on track and slipping down the order. For home race hero Antonio Giovinazzi (DRAGON/PENSKE AUTOSPORT), the Italian finished 18th after a steady race at the back of the pack. Still adjusting to the challenging nature of driving on street circuits, Giovinazzi will be hoping to make more of an impact in the second race on Sunday April 10.
As it happened…
Poleman Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) held onto the lead, fending off Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns in P2 as the pack moved around the 19-turn, 3.385km Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR street circuit in Rome.
Nudged from behind by ROKiT Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara, Mahindra Racing’s Oliver Rowland hit the barrier on Turn 7, causing cars to back up behind the British driver. Shortly after, Nissan e.dams’ Max Guenther crashed into the barrier on Turn 11, bringing the Porsche Taycan Safety Car out while his stricken race car was recovered.
With 35 minutes left on the clock, racing commenced with Vandoorne out in front leading Frijns and Mercedes-EQ Nyck de Vries.
Sandwiched between the Mercedes-EQ drivers, Robin Frijns was fighting for the lead, biding his time to make a move on Vandoorne.
With 29 minutes remaining, DS TECHEETAH’s Antonio Felix da Costa in fourth took ATTACK MODE to use the extra power to close in on the top three.
Down into Turn 4, Frijns made his move on Vandoorne, pulling past the Mercedes driver on the inside of the turn to take the lead. The following lap, both Mercedes’ drivers took ATTACK MODE – allowing da Costa to move into second – to close in on race leader Frijns.
With his ATTACK MODE used and Vandoorne still in the higher power mode, the Mercedes driver slipped into second behind Frijns.
Despite contending for the lead early on, da Costa continued to slip down the order before a knock from Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis on Turn 4 set him further back behind the British driver and Jaguar TCS Racing’s Mitch Evans.
Back at the front, Vandoorne and Frijns continued to trade places with Frijns using his ATTACK MODE between Turn 3 and 4 to pass the Belgian driver and hold the Mercedes driver at bay in second.
With 14 minutes left on the clock, Vandoorne blasted past Frijns on the uphill section between Turn 6 and 7 in a beautifully-executed move using ATTACK MODE, to take the lead.
Despite starting in third, de Vries appeared to be struggling, slipping down the order. Back at the front, Jaguar’s Mitch Evans had made his way up from ninth and – using extra power from ATTACK MODE – made a successful move on Vandoorne and Frijns to take the lead.
Evans – a one-time winner in Rome – was clear of the pack, out in front by a comfortable margin. After the Safety Car outing earlier in the race, the race was extended by 5m15s of TAG Heuer Added Time.
After slipping down, Vandoorne used his FANBOOST to climb back up the order, eventually settling behind Evans in second. Now into added time, Evans held firm at the front, followed by Vandoorne and DS TECHEETAH’s Jean-Eric Vergne who’d made his way into third.
Close together Vergne led Frijns and Mortara in the battle for third. Around the Obelisk, Frijns passed Vergne to take third with less than two minutes of added time left.