Formula E: Mercedes dominate opening Diriyah race
Updated: Feb 1, 2022
REIGNING Formula E Champion Nyck de Vries led home a Mercedes EQ one-two finish ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne as the German team laid down an impressive marker.
The opening race of the eighth season of all-electric racing saw the drivers race round the Riyadh Street Circuit for the first of two races in Diriyah.
2020/21 Champion Nyck de Vries started the race from third but a fantastic start saw the Dutchman leapfrog Avalanche Andretti's Jake Dennis to sit right behind team-mate Vandoorne.
Vandoorne claimed his sixth career Pole Position as the sport trialled a new qualifying system.
The appearance of the new Formula E Safety Car - the Porsche Taycan - made it's debut as Mahindra's Oliver Rowland crashed out of the race in an incident involving Envision's Robin Frijns.
De Vries waited patiently until a mistake from Vandoorne when trying to activate his second Attack Mode saw the Dutchman get ahead of his team-mate and take the lead of the race.
Formula E's Attack Mode is located off the racing line and unfortunately for Vandoorne, he didn't manage to race through the activation points which lost the Belgian time and track position.
From then onwards, de Vries comfortably controlled the race and the ever-closing gap between himself and Vandoorne to win for a third time in his career.
As Mercedes EQ led from the front, there were battles up and down the field but the highlight of all the battles was the fight for fourth.
Using the tactics of Attack Mode, Porsche's Andre Lotterer managed to jump Dennis to run third but the British driver had more pace throughout the race. After several attempts, Dennis passed the struggling Porsche driver who was then quickly overtaken by Jaguar TSC Racing's Sam Bird and ROKiT Venturi's Lucas di Grassi.
Dennis, who had an exceptional rookie campaign last season, rounded out the podium in third.
Formula E veteran's Bird and di Grassi battled to the line and completed the top five. It was a great result for ROKiT Venturi Racing with Edoardo Mortara finishing in sixth right behind di Grassi.
Nick Cassidy finished the race in seventh but bagged fastest lap of the race securing Envision's only points of the race. Double Formula E Champion Jean-Eric Vergne, American new-comer Oliver Askew and Jagaur TSC Racing's Mitch Evans rounded out the top ten.
Despite starting in fourth, Lotterer fell backwards during the race and eventually finished 13th and with team-mate Pascal Wehrlein dropping a place from where he qualified - it seems that Porsche are the team with the most work to do concerning race pace.
Other Formula E rookies, NIO 333 Dan Tictum and Dragon/Penske Autosport's Antonio Giovinazzi finished their maiden races down in 18th and 20th.
Mercedes EQ have a very comfortable lead in the championship with 46 points with ROKiT Venturi Racing and Avalanche Andretti only on 18 and 17 points respectively.