Mercedes-EQ's Nyck de Vries won today’s crazy DHL Valencia E-Prix, Round 5 of the 2020/2021 FIA Formula E World Championship, leading home Dragon / Penske Autosport driver Nico Mueller and his Mercedes teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.
The race started behind the safety car as the race director Scot Elkins wanted to provide the drivers with the chance of getting acquainted with the damp surface of the Ricardo Tormo track. However, the action did not last long as Andre Lotterer and Sebastien Buemi had a coming-together at the hairpin - the Porsche man collecting the Nissan e.dams driver - leaving the Swiss beached in the gravel.
With 35 minutes to go, the safety car dived into the pit and the race resumed. Felix da Costa could pull a gap on BMW i Andretti’s Maximilian Guenther. The next lap saw Nick de Vries overtake Alexander Sims for P3 with the Dutchman improving to second just a few corners later.
With 28 minutes to go, the first six drivers – da Costa, de Vries, Lynn, Maximilian Guenther, Oliver Rowland and Alexander Sims – all activated their first attack mode.
Wheel-to-wheel racing in the wet for third place between @alexlynnracing and @maxg_official!— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) April 24, 2021
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BMW’s Guenther continued to struggle on the damp surface, dropping back the order. With 25 minutes to go, Mahindra’s Sims overtook the young German who found himself down in P6 following his strong showing in the dry qualifying session.
The next lap saw Guenther make a mistake at Turn 2 which saw him get stuck in the gravel. Bruno Correia rolled onto the track with his Mini Electric safety car so that the marshals could remove the stricken BMW Andretti Formula E car.
A fourth spell under the Safety Car followed when Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) clashed with Sergio Sette Camara sent off into the gravel and out of the race and the Kiwi forced to retire in the pits.
The race resumed with 10 minutes left on the clock. Da Costa activated his fan boost to escape from de Vries and went immediately through the attack mode. He executed his plan in perfect style as he did not lose the all-important leading position to de Vries.
When Andre Lotterer got stuck in the gravel trap with just six minutes left on the clock, the safety car was deployed for the fifth time in today’s inaugural Valenica E-Prix.
By the time the MINI Electric Pacesetter peeled off the circuit after its latest outing, the race had become a straight two-lap sprint. However, with the Safety Car so busy, and the race running to an extra lap than many had accounted for, only a handful of drivers looked like they’d enough energy to make the finish.
Despite looking comfortable in the lead, da Costa had less energy and was forced to slow down. Using his extra energy, de Vries jumped into the lead while Nico Mueller and Stoffel Vandoorne also climbed up the order thanks to their energy advantage. Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns secured the point for TAG Heuer Fastest Lap.
Commenting on the crazy Valencia E-Prix, race winner de Vries said: "What a race! To be honest, I'm even happier today than when I won my first race in Diriyah, especially with this victory coming as such a surprise. After the really tough race weekend in Rome and the five-place grid penalty for this race, I definitely wasn't expecting it.
“But it's a fantastic way for me to bounce back. Many thanks to the whole team, who executed the strategy perfectly today, and congratulations to Stoffel, who fought his way from the back of the field to the front.
“I have to admit that I was surprised to see him standing next to me at the podium ceremony. Today has turned to be a simply fabulous day for our team,” said the Dutchman.