Diriyah E-Prix: Vandoorne error gives De Vries win in Mercedes 1-2

Nyck de Vries opened his Formula E title defence in style, leading home team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne for a Mercedes 1-2 at the Diriyah E-Prix.

Diriyah E-Prix: Vandoorne error gives De Vries win in Mercedes 1-2

Having missed almost all of the opening practice session of the weekend due to a crash, de Vries pulled a full recovery over the remaining sessions, culminating in him pouncing on an attack mode error from Vandoorne to capture victory in the season-opener.

The rapidly starting Mercedes duo swept into the front two positions off the line, with de Vries overhauling a slightly sluggish Jake Dennis.

Vandoorne kept de Vries behind him however, and looked every bit worth his lead in the early stages before an early safety car that was brought out to extricate Oliver Rowland’s crashed Mahindra, dumped into the wall amid a close-quarters battle with Robin Frijns.

Rowland had originally given Frijns more than a fleeting tap into the wall in Turn 14, and the Envision driver repaid the favour two corners later with a nudge from behind. Frijns’ robust attack earned him a drive-through penalty, ending his hopes of leaving the season opener with points on the board.

Vandoorne wasted no time following the restart where he elected not to back up the pack, instead deciding to charge off to continue his tenure in the lead. But in the process of trying to build a break, the Belgian missed his marks on his second attack mode activation and ceded the lead to de Vries.

The reigning champion held strongly and, although Vandoorne attempted to atone for his earlier error and eat into de Vries’ lead, the Dutchman had the measure of him to capture an expertly managed win. Mercedes’ domination ensured that the lead pair finished over eight seconds ahead of third-placed Dennis, who completed the podium.

After dropping a position at the start to de Vries, Dennis lost another spot to Andre Lotterer during the second round of attack mode, as the Porsche driver undercut him to hold third place.

But Lotterer began to overconsume his energy and this left him susceptible to multiple assaults from Dennis – who was left frustrated by the German’s riposte on the first time around at Turn 18 and ran wide, losing time.

Vandoorne ran wide entering the attack mode detection zone for the second time, which meant it didn't engage

Vandoorne ran wide entering the attack mode detection zone for the second time, which meant it didn't engage

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

Dennis eventually made a clean pass on lap 27, leaving Lotterer as prey for the chasing trio of Sam Bird, Lucas di Grassi and Nick Cassidy.

Bird cleared the ailing Lotterer three laps later and managed to keep di Grassi at bay over the final 10 tours to cement fourth place.

Edoardo Mortara made it two Venturis in the top six with a late clearance of Cassidy, who also began to struggle with power consumption towards the end – as 5m15s was added on in extra time following the safety car.

Behind, DS Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne prevailed in a lengthy scrap with Jaguar driver Mitch Evans to claim eighth place, ahead of Andretti rookie Oliver Askew – who also passed Evans at the death to double his points haul from the race.

Lotterer dropped out of the points completely, finishing 13th behind team-mate Pascal Wehrlein and Nissan e.dams' Maximilian Guenther.

Antonio Felix da Costa joined Rowland on the retirement list, calling it a day after lap 1 with suspension damage.

Results - 41 laps

shares
comments

Related video

Autosport Podcast: Formula E - Can Season 8 Deliver?
Previous article

Autosport Podcast: Formula E - Can Season 8 Deliver?

Next article

Vandoorne accepts blame for Diriyah Formula E attack mode mistake

Vandoorne accepts blame for Diriyah Formula E attack mode mistake
The first impressions of Formula E's brave new era Plus

The first impressions of Formula E's brave new era

OPINION: Formula E kicked off its Gen3 era at Mexico City with keen anticipation - and anxiety - surrounding its new, more powerful cars. Here's how the new machinery got on in its first race, and what could be open to improvement later down the line

Formula E
Jan 17, 2023
How Dennis dominated Formula E's new generation opener Plus

How Dennis dominated Formula E's new generation opener

Formula E’s Gen3 era kicked off with more unpredictability as Andretti’s Jake Dennis recovered from poor pre-season testing to dominate in Mexico. Here's how it played out and what the opener hints at what is to come in the new generation of the electric series

Formula E
Jan 16, 2023
Is this a Formula E 'nearly man's' best chance yet at title glory? Plus

Is this a Formula E 'nearly man's' best chance yet at title glory?

With braking issues scuppering his championship hopes at a crucial moment in the 2021-22 Formula E season, Mitch Evans is more determined than ever heading into this year. He explains how he plans to make it third time lucky after two title near-misses

Formula E
Jan 12, 2023
Can McLaren make a success of its foray into Formula E? Plus

Can McLaren make a success of its foray into Formula E?

McLaren kept a two-time title-winning Formula E team alive after purchasing the Mercedes entry. But with new drivers and a switch to customer status, can it continue to succeed in its new orange era?

Formula E
Jan 11, 2023
10 things we learned from Valencia Formula E testing Plus

10 things we learned from Valencia Formula E testing

The prologue to the 2022/2023 Formula E season has concluded as the series gets set for the new Gen3 era. After almost four days of testing in Valencia this week, Autosport takes a look at the 10 major talking points that will dominate the build-up to the new campaign getting underway in January.

Formula E
Dec 17, 2022
How Jaguar got its teeth into Formula E's Gen3 development race Plus

How Jaguar got its teeth into Formula E's Gen3 development race

With Mercedes gone and DS moving teams, Jaguar has a big opportunity at the start of Formula E's Gen3 era. The technical challenges in understanding the new car have been vast, with senior figures James Barclay and Phil Charles outlining to Autosport the pitfalls along the way

Formula E
Dec 1, 2022
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2021-22 Plus

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2021-22

After a wild 2020-21 season, this year's Formula E campaign had a much stronger narrative to it, but ended with the same result as a driver from the Silver Arrows squad triumphed. Here's our guide to those who shone brightest during the campaign

Formula E
Oct 1, 2022
The trait Vandoorne rediscovered to claim Formula E's era-ending title Plus

The trait Vandoorne rediscovered to claim Formula E's era-ending title

After Nyck de Vries was crowned Formula E champion in 2021, his Mercedes team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne stepped forward this season as the Gen2 era and his team bowed out. As he did on the way to the GP2 crown in 2015, the Belgian achieved a peerless level of consistency and was only outside the points once, with his sole win in Monaco sufficient to head off a chasing pack headed by Mitch Evans

Formula E
Sep 19, 2022