Formula E

Sims dominates chaotic Ad Diriyah race

2 Mins read
Credit: Formula E

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.

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Formula E writer for TCF since 2015-16 and fascinated by all things electric.
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