Rome ePrix Race 2 Review
Who could beat the tight streets of Rome today?
It may not have been the tight battle for the win that we saw yesterday, yet we still got our fair share of action today. We saw a deserving winner, who once he got to the lead, was able to control it beautifully!
After a shaken up qualifying, where we saw a rookie front row, which in itself was stunning, and credit should go to both Cassidy and Nato, Vandoorne was seen as one of the favourites, given his good starting position, and clear pace yesterday. This came true as he climbed to the front quickly, using an Attack Mode undercut to get past Wehrlein and lead the race. Through the Virtual Safety Car, he was able to get a gap, and from there he controlled the race, saving energy as he allowed those behind to close on him, to eventually take the win. With the strength of the car he has, Stoffel must be seen as a true threat this year, who knows where he could be in the title race, if things had gone better for him and Mercedes.
After spending a couple of years right at the front, Mahindra looked as though they had dropped back in recent times, however Sims today showed that the car had pace and excellent efficiency. He was able to pass cars whilst having the most energy of anyone out there! I don’t think they quite have the pace over the season, although the odd podium is very likely. Another fantastic team today was Venturi, the DSQ of Nato may have rather dampened the result, however they had solid pace, and the efficiency was not too bad. There are some positives to take out of this weekend for them, despite the result.
I am really disappointed in Porsche today, Wehrlein was able to get to the lead really well at the start, and then from there, the teams strategy went out the window. They didn’t pre-empt anyone’s moves behind them, and when they got behind, they just copied those in front, which did nothing for their race. A team with their history in racing, should be able to see these issues coming, instead of stumbling round trying to catch up. It wasn’t like they had to save energy, they were fine on that, they just lost the podium today through ineptitude, and were lucky to get it back!
Guenther secured some well earnt points for the BMW team, after a far from ideal start to the year, whilst Evans continued to add points to his title challenge, as he now rises to P2 in the championship. The Jaguar didn’t have the raw pace we saw yesterday, maybe more due to others making gains, but the consistency will be their biggest help. Da Costa showed incredible pace at points during the race, at one point he looked to be in the fight for the win. Yet he was using too much energy and had to drop back.
Nissan had a similar story to Techeetah, as they could not keep up their early race pace, and fell back. Rowland’s collision with Cassidy was a slam dunk penalty, he may have been caught out by Nick’s braking, but still it was clumsy. The Buemi vs Di Grassi saga began again, as their battle ended with Lucas out of the race, he claimed Buemi crashed into him, however the replays suggest that Di Grassi was moving all over the straight, and simply tagged Buemi as he tried to go past.
Rast’s crash was a real shame, as he has been quietly consistent so far this year, it was only when I saw him in Q1 this morning, that I realised how well he has been doing, given his limited experience. Having a 1 lap shootout to end that race, was only going to end one way, and sure enough into the main overtaking opportunity at Turn 7, De Vries went for a small gap on Bird, got on the damp part of the track, and went like a missile into first Bird and then Rowland. It hasn’t hurt the drivers much, as they were only on the edge of the points at that time, but I am sure it will have bruised De Vries’ ego a little.
As the series moves on to the first purpose built racetrack that it will race on, there will be a lot of intrigue as to who can perform on a smooth surface and relatively low kerbs. I wouldn’t expect the action to be as thrilling as what we have been given this weekend, as Rome has really been something special once again, and given us some more hints as to who could come out on top this season