As is often the case with Formula E, the race did not disappoint, living up to the standard of racing we’ve seen throughout the weekend. With a full display of the regulations and perks of the series, Diriyah race 2 gave the perfect opportunity for new fans to get to know what it’s all about. Alexander Sims was pivotal in the display, providing a true masterclass on how to translate a pole position into a top-step-of-the-podium appearance.
The race wasn’t off to a good start at all for Jean-Eric Vergne who was starting at the very back and with a drive-through to serve following a battery replacement after his shunt in practice, or for Jerome D’Ambrosio who didn’t move from his starting box. As the rest of the grid made their way around their formation lap, D’Ambrosio was pushed off of the track resulting in a DNS.
With D’Ambrosio’s empty grid slot, the race got underway with a clean start giving Alexander Sims the opportunity to pull away from the rest of the pack. After a disappointing qualifying, de Vries began climbing the field as Vergne pulled into the pitlane to serve the penalty he was awarded prior to the race start.
With just over 37 minutes remaining, Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa lurched past Lucas di Grassi to take P3, forcing di Grassi to lock up. Following the pass, Sam Bird passed Mitch Evans for P5, putting him closer to achieving his second race win of the weekend.
Da Costa tapped Sebastien Buemi with 33 minutes remaining in the race, causing him to spin. Suffering from desperation to rejoin as close to his P2 as possible, Buemi pulled across the track on the blind turn forcing heavy braking from those emerging out of the corner. After the ordeal, Buemi rejoined in P14 whilst da Costa was riding in P2, chasing down Sims.
Although Sims was first to activate Attack Mode to grow his lead, with 15 minutes elapsed, a number of drivers had taken action to gain the extra 35kW. Race control announced that da Costa and Buemi were under investigation for causing a collision which came as no surprise. Da Costa, who benefitted from the collision, activated Attack Mode, losing out to di Grassi in the process. He swiftly used the boost to gain the position back again.
Yesterday’s winner, Bird was nudged by Evans whilst trying to pass, sending him sliding into the wall. He also made contact with Wehrlein causing damage to both cars and ending Bird’s race, triggering a safety car.
With the race restart, Sims dived through the Attack Mode whilst maintaining the lead over the Techeetah due to still being under safety car. Maximilian Gunther didn’t obey this rule though, and drove past Stoffel Vandoorne and Edoardo Mortara, signing himself up for a potential investigation and penalty.
Not too long later, race control announced a drive through penalty for da Costa as a result of causing a collision with Buemi earlier in the race. After serving it, he drops from P2 to P20.
Meanwhile, Robin Frijns loses it and ends up in the wall, leaving the Envision team with a double DNF for race 2. The safety car is, once again, deployed. Race control took this opportunity to announce a number of penalties, including a reprimand for Massa for being out of position at the race start.
The safety car was pulled in before Frijns’ car was cleared from the track. Sims roared away from the rest of the pack but Frijns’ car still hadn’t been removed from the track. A full course yellow was raised, giving them a chance to clear the car. The total power reduction for the remainder of the race was at a total of 12kW.
Evans was announced to have a penalty as di Grassi dived past Vandoorne, getting the most out of his Attack Mode. As he loses the advantage of the additional 35kW, he caught up with the back of Gunther and began to look around the side. The cars began to gather behind the BMW Andretti of Gunther which could have been a tactic to give his teammate, Sims, a longer lead.
Vergne, who started last on the grid, had raced his way to P17. As his Attack Mode is drawn to a close, he lunged between Massa and Neel Jani, making it to P15, 3 positions ahead of his teammate who was still trying to make up ground following his penalty.
Massa was announced to be under investigation for speeding in the pitlane. As the clock hit zero, the final lap began with the BMW Andrettis on their way to a double podium appearance. As his power dropped below 1%, Sims crossed the finish line, securing the race win and emerging from the second round as leader of the 2019/20 championship.
The top 10 from race 2:
Maximilian Gunther +1.383
Lucas di Grassi +2.817
Stoffel Vandoorne +3.581
Edoardo Mortara +4.294
Oliver Rowland +5.475
Nyck de Vries +7.381
Oliver Turvey +16.544
Daniel Abt +16.942
James Calado +17.221
Picture source: FIA Formula E Media