Nyck de Vries clinched the Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia on Friday to begin the new Formula E season on a high note.
De Vries’ teammate Stoffel Vandoorne finished second, giving Mercedes a one-two finish. For the first few laps, De Vries followed pole-sitter Vandoorne, but after the Belgian missed an attack mode activation loop following a safety-car restart, he took the lead.
De Vries, who missed almost all of the opening practice sessions because of a crash, managed to pull off a recovery that led to an impressive victory on Friday, ensuring a strong start to season eight for both him and Mercedes as they defend their championship titles.
It’s a great result for the team to win today and secure the one-two. This is what we have been working towards, so it is a very pleasing start to the weekend,” De Vries said after his second straight win in Diriyah.
“Obviously I was a bit fortunate with Stoff missing his attack mode, but at the end of the day it was good from our side in the garage.”
Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis took third while Sam Bird of Jaguar TCS Racing finished fourth, making it a strong start to the season for the British contingent.
“Everything that I imagined happened, happened,” said Dennis. “We pulled away from the pack; it was generally a clean race.”
Lotterer dropped back several places, eventually finishing 13th, after Dennis passed him on turn 18 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the race. Five additional minutes were added due to the deployment of the safety car, meaning energy usage became critical.
In his first race with Venturi, Lucas di Grassi moved past Sam Bird on the straight to take fifth place. Rookies Dan Ticktum and former Alfa Romeo Formula One driver Antonio Giovinazzi had difficult debuts, with the former finishing 18th and the latter the last to take the checkered flag.
The safety car was deployed after Mahindra Racing’s Oliver Rowland made contact with Envision Racing driver Robin Frijns on turn 17, a collision that sent Rowland’s car into the wall. It earned Frijns a drive-through penalty, while Rowland was awarded a three-place grid drop from tomorrow’s second race in Diriyah.
Season 6 Diriyah ePrix winner Antonio da Felix Costa was forced to pit and retire after the first lap.
Diriyah is hosting a double-header, with a second night race scheduled for Saturday.