Sims dominates chaotic Ad Diriyah race

by Scott Douglas

Alexander Sims produced a magnificent drive to cruise to his first victory in the series in an eventful race in Ad Diriyah.

After dropping back through the field from pole in yesterday’s race, the Brit didn’t make the same mistake twice as he dominated from the off and seemed to have a significant pace advantage over the rest of the field.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing however as the BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver had to manage two safety car restarts after Sam Bird and then Robin Frijns crashed out.

But Sims took it in his stride and managed the restarts perfectly to pull a comfortable gap on each occasion.

Behind him however it was far more chaotic, as confusion reigned over the rules regarding the restart.

Drivers are not able to overtake until the safety car line, yet with several drivers choosing to take their Attack Mode Maximillian Gunther chose to pass them and went from fifth to second as a result.

He was one of several drivers to do the same, while others such as Antonio Felix da Costa and Stoffel Vandoorne chose to slow down to ensure they did not overtake those taking their Attack Modes.

At the end of the race the first safety car restart was still under investigation, but with no penalties yet forthcoming it meant Gunther took an unlikely podium to make it a one-two finish for BMW.

Lucas di Grassi finished in third, mainly by keeping out of trouble, although he benefited from saving his Attack Modes until late in the race and nearly took second.

Vandoorne finished in fourth although he was also seen to have overtaken before the safety car line, with Edoroado Mortara driving well again to finish in fifth.

Andre Lotterer finished in sixth but unlike others received an immediate penalty during the race for overtaking under the safety car meaning he finished well outside of the points.

Sebastien Buemi also received a post-race penalty after he rejoined the track dangerously having been spun by Antonio Felix da Costa.

The pair were running in second and third, but da Costa was caught out by Buemi slowing in order to take his Attack Mode and nudged him into a spin.

The DS Techeetah driver was later given a drive-through penalty, but with Buemi keen to limit the damage to his race he cut across the track dangerously in front of several other drivers.

This chaos promoted Oliver Rowland to sixth, with Nyck de Vries finishing seventh having made his way through the carnage from the back of the field.

Oliver Turvey scored NIO 333’s first points of the season in eighth, with Daniel Abt finishing in ninth despite having to serve a penalty early on for a throttle map issue.

That meant James Calado also scored his first point in Formula E despite having started at the very back of the grid.

It was a disastrous race for yesterday’s winner Sam Bird though, who after a strong qualifying was challenging at the front when he tried a move on di Grassi.

It didn’t work, and left the door open for Mitch Evans who Bird subsequently cut across.

The contact gave Evans a puncture, and later a harsh penalty, but Bird managed to keep going – only to then be hit from behind at the next corner by Pascal Wehrlein which put the Brit in the wall.

With team-mate Frijns also spinning out on his own while in the points it capped a dreadful day for Envision Virgin Racing.

127Alexander SimsBMW i Andretti Motorsport
228Maximilian GüntherBMW i Andretti Motorsport
311Lucas di GrassiAudi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team
45Stoffel VandoorneMercedes EQ Formula E Team
548Edoardo MortaraVenturi Formula E Team
622Oliver RowlandNissan e.dams
717Nyck de VriesMercedes EQ Formula E Team
83Oliver TurveyNIO 333 FE Team
966Daniel AbtAudi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team
1051James CaladoPanasonic Jaguar Racing
1125Jean-Éric VergneDS Techeetah
126Brendon HartleyGEOX Dragon
1313António Félix da CostaDS Techeetah
1423Sébastien BuemiNissan e.dams
1591 Neel JaniPorsche Formula E Team
1636 André LottererPorsche Formula E Team
1794Pascal WehrleinMahindra Racing
1820Mitch EvansPanasonic Jaguar Racing
1933Ma QinghuaNIO 333 FE Team
2019 Felipe MassaVenturi Formula E Team
DNF7Nico MüllerGEOX Dragon
DNF4 Robin FrijnsEnvision Virgin Racing
DNF2 Sam BirdEnvision Virgin Racing
DNS64Jérôme d'AmbrosioMahindra Racing

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