ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara claimed his first win of the season in a crazy race in Diriyah that finished under the Safety Car.
Mercedes EQ’s Nyck De Vries looked on course to make it two wins from two having led the majority of the race after qualifying in pole, but his Attack Mode strategy proved costly as he eventually finished in tenth place.
The order chopped and changed constantly, but it was Mortara who was victorious in the end, finishing in front of Envision’s Robin Frijns and teammate Lucas Di Grassi.
Any chance of a dramatic ending was cut short as Mahindra’s Alex Simms collided with the wall just a few minutes before the end, and the Safety Car was deployed to see out the few remaining laps.
From start to finish
After claiming pole position by just five-thousandths of a second, reigning World Champion Nyck De Vries would have been dreaming of successive wins to start the season as he got away cleanly as the lights went out.
Whilst the top order remained intact, there was drama early on as Mahindra’s Alex Sims ran off into the first corner, whilst his new teammate, Oliver Rowland, had made good progress, jumping into 7th having qualified in 10th.
With his teammate leading the race, Mercedes EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne was looking to make up for a disappointing qualifying session, climbing into the point-scoring place from him starting position of 12th.
Much like the first race of the weekend, Round 2 was going to be decided by the use of Attack Modes, and with Frijns and Da Costa having both used their second power boost, De Vries looked vulnerable out in front having waited to trigger his. It was a decision that would prove costly.
In his second race for his new team, Formula E veteran Lucas Di Grassi flexed his muscles on the reigning Champion De Vries, running side by side with the Dutchman as he looked to force his way into the lead. The Brazilian managed to get his nose ahead of De Vries heading into the exit of Turn 1, and Di Grassi’s teammate Mortara looked to take advantage of the skirmish, running into Frijns in the process.
Mortara was unable to get past him on that occasion, but it wasn’t long before the Swiss-Italian could brush past De Vries, who was on the verge of losing his grip on the race.
Still, the Dutchman still had his second Attack Mode up his sleeve, which he eventually triggered after building up enough of a gap to the lurking Robin Frijns.
Despite his extra power, De Vries’ energy situation meant he was unable to push onto the two ROKiT Venturi’s leading the way, and the winner of the opening round saw his extra power advantage pass by with nothing to show for it.
Having already let his lead slip, De Vries’ evening took another blow as he come off worst in a collision with DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne, who was looking to move to within touching distance of the front three.
The altercation sapped De Vries of momentum, and a swathe of drivers were able to move past him. Having started the race right at the front, the Mercedes EQ man found himself in tenth in a blink of an eye, and behind his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne
Amidst the frantic swapping of positions, Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis had creeped his way into fifth, just behind Porsche’s Andre Lotterer, who had been clinical in his ascent up the grid.
The last meaningful action of the race came from Envisions Robin Frijns, who conducted a brilliant overtake on Lucas Di Grassi to break up the ROKiT Venturi one-two, just before Mahindra’s Alex Sims brought on a full-course yellow after he crashed into the wall on one of the many blind bends.
The Safety Car was once again deployed, there were comical scenes as the cars were practically stationary behind the tractor that was sent on to retrieve the Mahindra car.
Although it looked like we may have had a few laps of full-throttle racing, the delay stretched on and the action-packed race finished in underwhelming circumstances.
The result sees ROKiT Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara climb to the top of the Drivers’ Championship, ahead of the Mercedes EQ pair of Nyck De Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne.