Feature image: @MercedesEQFE on Twitter
Former Formula 2 champion Nick de Vries took his first victory in Formula E in the first round of the 2021 season, under the floodlights in Diriyah. He led all 32 laps of the 45-minute race and looked comfortable as he controlled the pace of the race, including two safety cars.
He had a few problems with the energy consumption of his Mercedes EQ 02 at the start of the race and experienced spells of underconsumption as well as overconsumption. This didn’t prove to be too difficult for the Dutch driver as he managed to keep the rest of the grid behind him.
However, the star of the show was Edoardo Mortara as the former DTM driver displayed some excellent race-craft with a double overtake on Wehrlein and Evans for P3 with 26 minutes remaining. Weaving in and out of the Porsche and the Jaguar, the Rocket Venturi driver managed to cut in between the two of them to take the position at turn 18.
After a double safety car period caused by a tussle between Sam Bird and Alex Lynn and then again by Günther pushing a little bit too hard, Mortara overtook former DTM champion René Rast for P2. Rast then retook the position as Mortara took his second attack mode, which led to Mortara retaking P2.
De Vries will be going into tomorrow full of confidence after today’s performance. The only thing that stands in his way is Group 1 qualifying, meaning he’ll be one of the first drivers to set a qualifying lap on a not-yet-optimal track.
The teams champion, DS Techeetah didn’t have the best opening round and that isn’t likely to change in tomorrow’s race either. The lack of power with their used-powertrains showed throughout all the sessions, with António Félix da Costa and Jean-Éric Vergne qualifying in P18 and P19 respectively.
Last years’ champion, da Costa, nearly made it into the top 10, just missing out in P11 with the two-time champion finishing in P15.
The second round of the Formula E World Championship takes place tomorrow on the same track, under the lights again. Will de Vries dominate again? Or will we see a different winner tomorrow evening?