Nyck de Diriyah: FE's opening salvo
Mercedes' Dutch driver takes a commanding win in Formula E's season opener as reigning DTM champ Rast impresses.
Former F2 champion Nyck de Vries takes his first ever Formula E victory in the most commanding of fashions. The Flying Dutchman was almost untouchable throughout the whole race, but it was his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne's fastest lap that stole a potential first grand slam.
The race started well, with little incident - only a few off track excursions as drivers wrestled for position. Some time later, Sergio Sette Camara was given a drive-through penalty for "not respecting the instruction manual of an FIA supplier" with regards to a battery cooling issue.
With 40 minutes to go, de Vries led the field from Pascal Wehrlein and the fast starting Rene Rast. Edoardo Mortara took two places on the straight with 26 minutes to go, leaving Wehrlein vulnerable to Mitch Evans, and he fell out of the rostrum places - it was a fantastic move with surgical precision.
Mortara's cutback, swooping left-to-right led to an eruption of celebration from the Venturi garage and applause from the commentators. But disaster was to erupt for Sam Bird who made an optimistic dive on Alex Lynn, spinning Lynn round and culminating with Bird hitting and destroying Lynn's and his own front wing. Driver's Eye treated us to Sam Bird shaking his fist at Lynn - Lynn was out on the spot.
The safety car was deployed to collect debris that was dispensed onto the racing surface. Racing got back underway with 14 minutes left on the clock - de Vries was very much commanding the race from Rast who had gotten past Mortara. It wasn't long before another incident unfolded after de Vries activated his attack mode.
Max Guenther slammed into the wall following a slide off of the racing line bringing out yet another safety car. Mortara re-passed Rast who took attack mode. The safety car peeled away for the last time, leaving us with 5 minutes +1 lap of a scintillating battle for the win.
However, de Vries was in a class of his own, and pulled away meaning Mortara, Rast, Evans and Wehrlein would have to fight for second best. De Vries started the final lap, but Rene Rast had a large power advantage over his rivals. Rast attempted a classic round-the-outside move on Evans but it was not enough to take a maiden podium. Sebastien Buemi shockingly put himself out of points-contention at the last corner, colliding with Jake Dennis only feet away from the finish line, catapulting him to 13th.
De Vries took his first FE win at the first FE World Championship Race.
It was the Dutchman's second career podium but all eyes are on De Vries tomorrow though, as his incredible performance will set expectations for him to continue this form.
The final results - Nyck de Vries wins from Mortara and Evans as teammate Stoffel Vandoorne takes TAG HEUER fastest lap and Oliver Turvey rounds out the points places.