Formula E: Sims controls crazy Diriyah EPrix to register first win
BMW Andretti ended up 1-2 with Alexander Sims winning from Maximilian Gunther in Saturday's Diriyah EPrix in opening FIA Formula E Championship weekend.
Pole-sitter and BMW Andretti's Alexander Sims made a solid start in Diriyah EPrix, the second race of 2019/20 Formula E opening weekend in Saudi Arabia, to lead from Nissan's Sebastien Bumei and Audi's Lucas de Grassi in the Top 3.
Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans stationed himself in fourth with Envision Virgin's Sam Bird fifth ahead of Venturi's Edoardo Mortara, BMW Andretti's Maximilian Gunther, Mercedes' Stoffel Vandoorne and Mahindra Racing's Pascal Wehrlein in the Top 10.
His teammate Jerome D'Ambrosio had the worst ending he could have as he stalled on the grid and retired. DS Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne, meanwhile, took his stop and go penalty straightaway to drop to last and nearly 45s behind the leader.
At the front, Sims built a massive lead as da Costa cleared di Grassi for third while Bird took Evans for fifth when the Kiwi was trying to get by Brazilian. His teammate Daniel Abt was then put under investigation for throttle map, for which he got a drive-through penalty.
As Sims led, da Costa tried a move on Buemi at Turn 1 but tagged him on the back, which sent the Swiss racer into a spin. The Nissan racer tried to re-join as quick as possible made it was deemed unsafe when he just drove through the racing line.
The Portuguese racer was handed a drive-through penalty, while the Swiss racer got a 10 seconds stop and go penalty. The ePrix was neutralised soon after a retirement for Bird when he tried a move on di Grassi, who was battling da Costa again.
Evans then tried to pass Bird but they made contact when the British racer was then hit by Wehrlein, who suffered damage on his front wing. It was Sims in the lead but the re-start went haywire as da Costa was second with Gunther in third with di Grassi fourth.
Vandoorne moved up to fifth from Mortara, Envision Virgin's Robin Frijns, Porsche's Andre Lotterer, Venturi's Felipe Massa and Nissan's Oliver Rowland in the Top 10. Before they got going, there was another safety car for a crash for Frijns.
Strangely, the race director cleared the ePrix to start with the car still not in as he quickly ordered for a Full Course Yellow period. After all the dramas, Sims continued to lead with Gunther second, di Grassi third, Vandoorne fourth and Mortara in fifth.
The FIA noted drive-through penalty to Massa for false start while Evans got it as well for the collision with Bird. At the same time, the first re-start was put under investigation with Mercedes' Nyck de Vries also being looked at for a battery infraction.
While the dramas continued, Sims held on to secure his first career Formula E win in Race 2 of Diriyah EPrix weekend as he led a BMW Andretti 1-2 with Gunther in second to score his first podium as Audi's di Grassi completed the rostrum position.
Mercedes had another solid run with Vandoorne in fourth from Venturi's Mortara with Nissan's Rowland slotting in sixth from Mercedes' de Vries, NIO's Oliver Turvey, Audi's Abt and Jaguar's James Calado inside the Top 10.
The drivers were helped by penalties to Nissan's Buemi, Porsche's Lotterer and Venturi's Massa. DS Techeetah's Vergne missed out on a Top 10 in 11th, with GEOX Dragon's Brandon Hartley 12th from the other DS Techeetah of da Costa.
Nissan's Buemi dropped to 14th with Porsche's Neel Jani in 15th from teammate Lotterer as Mahindra's Wehrlein was 17th, Jaguar's Evans 18th, Venturi's Massa 19th and NIO's Ma Qing Hua 20th. DNF: Nico Mueller, Frijns, Bird. DNS: D'Ambrosio.
UPDATE: Following the Formula E Diriyah EPrix, the stewards penalised Gunther for overtaking Vandoorne and di Grassi under the safety car rules. The German had 24 seconds added to his time which dropped the BMW Andretti driver to 11th overall.
It promoted Audi's di Grassi to second and Mercedes' Vandoorne to third behind Sims as Mortara was fourth and Rowland fifth There were further changes in the order with a five-second time penalty for Mercedes' de Vries for battery infraction.
A disqualification for NIO's Turvey for extra energy usage promoted Audi's Abt to sixth with Calado in seventh as DS Techeetah's Vergne moved to eighth with GEOX Dragon's Hartley in ninth and DS Techeetah's da Costa rounding out the Top 10.
Position 11-19: Gunther, Buemi, Jani, Lotterer, Wehrlein, de Vries, Massa, Evans, Hua.
[Image courtesy: BMW Motorsport] [Note: This report was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]