Formula E

Mitch Evans Storms to Opening Rome E-Prix Victory From Ninth on the Grid

3 Mins read
Credit: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Mitch Evans took his first victory of the 2021-22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season in race one of the Rome E-Prix on Saturday after climbing from ninth on the grid to do so.

The Jaguar TCS Racing driver had missed out on the duals in Qualifying after encountering traffic on his fastest lap, but he did not let that disappointment faze him as he stormed through the field to take a superb win and reignite his championship challenge after a lacklustre opening couple of rounds.

By the time the race went behind the safety car at the end of lap one after a crash from Nissan e.damsMaximilian Günther, Evans had already passed both of the Tag Heuer Porsche FE Team drivers, Pascal Wehrlein and André Lotterer.

He then used his attack mode to good effect to pass Avalanche Andretti FE Team’s Jake Dennis for sixth, although the Briton then repassed the New Zealander after using his own attack mode.  Evans then gained a place as Dennis nudged DS Techeetah’s António Félix da Costa as they battled over fifth, the Jaguar driver taking advantage of the Portuguese driver’s being delayed.

After finally dispatching Dennis, Evans then took over fourth place from Jean-Éric Vergne as the second Techeetah driver took his attack mode, and he moved up one more place as Nyck de Vries began a slide down the field as he suffered a technical issue on his Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team car.

Evans used his second attack mode to close up on the leading duo of Robin Frijns and polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne, and he edged passed the latter to run second before passing Frijns to take the lead on lap eighteen despite a strong defensive drive from the Envision Racing driver.

After that, it was plain sailing for Evans, who extended his advantage at the front lap after lap, and he was able to afford to slow towards the end to prevent the race being extended by an additional lap, eventually coming home 5.703 seconds clear of the pack.

Frijns came out on top of a tough battle with Vandoorne to claim second place ahead of the Belgian, while Vergne ended fourth, although he finished just ahead of the second Jaguar of Sam Bird, who also had good pace throughout the race to move up from thirteenth on the grid to end fifth.

Félix da Costa ended the day sixth ahead of ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara, the Swiss driver surprisingly being eliminated early in Qualifying earlier in the day before moving up a handful of places, although he was involved in a first lap incident that saw Oliver Rowland spin and Günther hit the wall. 

Also getting caught up in the crash were Mortara’s team-mate Lucas di Grassi, the two NIO 333 FE Team drivers, Oliver Turvey and Daniel Ticktum, and Günther’s team-mate Sébastien Buemi.  Mortara earned himself a five-second penalty for the incident, which allowed Félix da Costa to take sixth having finished behind the Swiss racer on the road.

After dominating the Mexico City E-Prix in February, Porsche were noticeably off the pace compared to last time out, with Wehrlein sufficiently off the back of Mortara that even with the Swiss driver’s penalty, he could not gain from it, eventually finishing eighth, while team-mate Lotterer ended tenth behind Envision’s Nick Cassidy.

After running inside the points early on, Dennis faded towards the end and was eventually classified twelfth, with a five second penalty for his nudge on Félix da Costa seeing him falling behind Mahindra Racing’s Alexander Sims.

De Vries’ early potential was all for nothing, as the reigning champion had a nightmare second half of the race, sliding down the order with what turned out to be a terminal mechanical issue that ultimately saw him pull into the pits with two laps to go to join Rowland and Günther in retirement.

Rome E-Prix Race 1 Result

19Mitch EvansNZLJaguar TCS Racing51:59.632
24Robin FrijnsNEDEnvision Racing+5.703
35Stoffel VandoorneBELMercedes-EQ Formula E Team+6.966
425Jean-Éric VergneFRADS Techeetah+7.553
510Sam BirdGBRJaguar TCS Racing+7.877
613António Félix da CostaPORDS Techeetah+8.971
748Edoardo MortaraCHEROKIT Venturi Racing+13.356
899Pascal WehrleinGERTAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team+14.216
937Nick CassidyNZLEnvision Racing+14.543
1036André LottererGERTAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team+19.339
1111Lucas di GrassiBRZROKiT Venturi Racing+19.731
1229Alexander SimsGBRMahindra Racing+24.758
1327Jake DennisGBRAvalanche Andretti FE Team+25.029
1428Oliver AskewUSAAvalanche Andretti FE Team+28.039
157Sérgio Sette CâmaraBRZDragon/Penske Autosport+28.645
1623Sébastien BuemiCHENissan e.DAMS+28.865
178Oliver TurveyGBRNIO 333 FE Team+58.372
1899Antonio GiovinazziITADragon/Penske Autosport+1:07.231
1933Dan TicktumGBRNIO 333 FE Team+1:19.306
20/RET17Nyck de VriesNEDMercedes-EQ Formula E Team+2 Laps/Retired
RET30Oliver RowlandGBRMahindra RacingRetired
RET28Maximilian GüntherGERNissan e.DAMSRetired
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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