While two-time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne clinched the victory in Round 3 of the 2021 FIA Formula E World Championship on Saturday, Sunday saw Mercedes EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne take his second-ever Formula E win at Rome's spectacular Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR.
Just as yesterday, the race direction decided to start the race behind the Electric Mini Safety Car due to partially damp track surface. Starting from pole position, Nick Cassidy made a mistake at the start by spinning his Envision Virgin car and dropped back to eleventh.
The New Zealander’s problem left Norman Nato with the lead, albeit the rookie was unable to hold on to the lead. With 37 minutes left on the clock, Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein made the pass on the Frenchman, charging into the lead.
Cassidy was furious because of the incident and was eager to make up for the lost places. With 35 minutes left on the clock, Oliver Rowland was too ambitious and sent the New Zealander into the wall. Cassidy managed to get out of the wall and carried on with minor damages to the front of his car.
As drivers started to activate the first of their three activation modes, second-placed Vandoorne decided to use it earlier than race leader Wehrlerin. When the German activated his first mode, he came back from the zone behind Vandoorne, losing the lead.
Lucas di Grassi was hit by Sebastien Buemi with the incident sending the Audi driver into the wall. Full course yellow was deployed to remove the wrecked Audi FE car. When the track was cleared and cars could accelerate again, Alexander Sims overtook Wehlerin for P2.
Nick de Vries, who was second in the championship ahead of the race, outbraked himself, dropping two positions behind reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa, who was on a charge following his dismal qualifying performance.
After climbing up the order from his 19th starting position, three-time DTM champion Rene Rast lost the back of his Audi and crashed into the wall. The incident left debris on the track, forcing the Race Director Scot Elkins to deploy the Safety Car onto the track.
With just seconds left on the clock, the race became a one-lap dash. Vandoorne held firm to take his second career victory with just 0.6 seconds ahead of Sims. Although Nato took his first Formula E podium, he was disqualified from the race for energy overuse.
Bouncing back from his disappointing Saturday race, Vandoorne was happy to clinch his his second ever Formula E win: "Today was all about redemption for yesterday. The pace of the car has been great the whole weekend and today we managed to get a decent qualifying session despite the challenging track conditions.
„I want to congratulate my team. We had a very good strategy with Attack Mode and managed to build a gap when needed. It feels good to achieve this today with this team,” said the Belgian driver.
Mahindra Racing driver Alexander Sims commented on his race: "The team seemed pleased with the result today. The gap to overtake Pascal was pretty narrow, but we reacted well and had a successful strategy. I am happy with the race and the way we used Attack Mode.
„It is my second weekend with Mahindra Racing and we still have lots to learn with pace and qualifying. We’ll keep working and trying."
After inheriting the lowest podium position from Venturi’s Normann Nato, Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein said: "It feels good to be on the podium, but I am still disappointed as I was leading the race at one point. We missed some good opportunities but it was a good day for us overall. In the race and qualifying it feels like we are lacking pace.
„We need to keep working and improve for the next race. I’m pleased with my result on my second weekend with the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. Stoffel was extremely fast today so congratulations to him on his first win of the season!"
Sam Bird leaves Rome atop the Drivers' table, with Jaguar teammate Mitch Evans narrowly behind in second spot. Vandoorne's win lifts him to fourth from 15th.
Jaguar Racing head the way in the Teams' running, with Mercedes-EQ second and reigning champions DS TECHEETAH third.