DIRIYAH: Swiss driver Edoardo Mortara secured his third Formula E win in the second round of the Diriyah E-Prix, with teammate Lucas di Grassi in third giving the Monegasque Rokit Venturi team a 1-3 win on Saturday.
“I was basically fighting with everyone at some point. Lucas and Robin were quicker than me. It was for sure an eventful race and I’m glad we secured it,” said Edo. “Many races have ended with safety cars but I can see why people would think a certain way.”
The Rokit Venturi driver had given it his all in qualifying earlier in the day in the new duel format, bested only by none other than red-hot Mercedes-EQ driver Nyck de Vries.
It was the second front row start for Mortara, who has not yet taken pole position in his Formula E career. Friday’s victor, Nyck de Vries, was looking to extend his advantage tonight under the floodlights of the Diriyah E-Prix, but his hopes were dashed.
He ended up in 10th place after being involved in a crucial accident with Venturi driver Lucas di Grassi with fewer than 30 minutes left on the clock.
Di Grassi led the race after the collision — a stroke of good luck — but for de Vries, it resulted in a steering problem.
Initial investigations suggested that his front axle was damaged, meaning the Dutchman was unable to race against his fellow drivers, falling position after position.
Up until the safety car was deployed, fans witnessed a very competitive night of racing at the Diriyah E-Prix’s second round under the floodlights in Riyadh.
Mortara began leading the E-Prix with di Grassi just behind and fewer than 20 minutes on the clock. The race then saw a 1-2 for Venturi for the first time.
Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne’s Fanboosts went to waste as the safety car was deployed after Alexander Sims crashed, finding himself out of the race after breaking his drive shaft with eight minutes left.
Robin Frijns took second place as Lucas di Grassi failed to defend on the straight. The new Porsche Taycan Turbo S safety car led the drivers with six minutes left for the remainder of the race, resulting in a controversial win as no time was added due to the car coming out within time constraint rules.
“After seeing Mercedes pull away yesterday, I was expecting the same today, but the more the race was going on the more confident I felt in the car,” said Frijns. “It’s been a pretty good day for me overall.”
As per the new Season 8 regulations, if a Full Course Yellow or Safety Car period goes into or takes place during or after the 40th minute of an E-Prix, additional time will not be added to the race.
“It was very lucky for Robin that the safety car came out,” said di Grassi. “Sometimes the race is in your favor, sometimes it’s not, and today it wasn’t for me but I think we started off right, nonetheless.”
Vandoorne was unable to get on the podium and redeem what had happened to his Dutch teammate over the accident with di Grassi, but still managed to score some points for Mercedes-EQ as he finished in sixth position, climbing up from 12th on the grid at the start of the race.
The favored driver to win in Diriyah, Jaguar Racing’s Sam Bird, who won last year in race two, ended up in 16th place after he failed to qualify earlier in the day and was unable to climb back during the race.
Rokit Venturi lead, followed by Mercedes-EQ and Avalanche Andretti in the constructor’s championship.
Edo now leading with 33 points in the driver’s championship, will take the fight to de Vries in the next race in two weeks’ time in Mexico City.