The Mercedes EQ Formula E team had mixed results in the DHL Valencia E-Prix 2021 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Spain. Both drivers scored a podium on Saturday in a crazy wet race, but Sunday saw Stoffel Vandoorne out of the race after a bold move that caused terminal damage on his car and Nyck de Vries finish in sixteenth position.
“I think I should take a dictionary with me to the future events, so I have all the synonyms for ‘challenge’ at hand, because I’m starting to repeat myself, using that word” said Mercedes EQ team principal Ian James.
Round five of the championship took place on Saturday April 24 and it was one of the most dramatic ABB FIA Formula E World Championship races to date. All the teams were challenged in terms of energy management, as it was Formula E’s first visit to a permanent track.
Stoffel Vandoorne put his car in pole position for the Saturday race, but a technical infraction on his tyres disqualified him and gave Season six Formula E champion Antonio Felix Da Costa (DS Techeetah) his place. In the very last lap, twelve drivers ran out of energy to finish their race, five of which were disqualified. Vandoorne was one of the only drivers who had kept enough and stood in third place on the podium. On Sunday, Vandoorne’s racing incident with Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e-dams) caused suspension damage on his car, forcing him out of the race.
“I think, in P10 when there was an incident with Buemi,” said Vandoorne. “I was forced to retire after that, because my suspension was damaged. It was a racing incident, which was frustrating, because we could have taken a couple of points from 17th on the grid today.
“Still, we’re leaving Valencia with a good haul of points and the team did an excellent job this weekend. We’re off now to Monaco.”
Something similar to Vandoorne befell Nyck de Vries: he qualified sixth to start the first race of the weekend and won, managing to keep up with Felix Da Costa who had led the whole race until the energy loss in the last lap. On Sunday, the improving conditions between qualifying groups meant that he had very little chance to start in the top six positions. It forced him to fight through the grid. He finished outside of the points.
“What a race! To be honest, I’m even happier today than when I won my first race in Diriyah, especially with this victory coming as such a surprise,” said de Vries on Saturday. “After the really tough race weekend in Rome and the five-place grid penalty for this race, I definitely wasn’t expecting it.
“But it’s a fantastic way for me to bounce back. Many thanks to the whole team, who executed the strategy perfectly today, and congratulations to Stoffel, who fought his way from the back of the field to the front. I have to admit that I was surprised to see him standing next to me at the podium ceremony. Today has turned to be a simply fabulous day for our team.”
New opportunities would come in Monaco according to both drivers, at the 2021 Monaco E-Prix. It will take place on 8 May 2021.