Diriyah E-Prix: Sims leads BMW 1-2 in messy second race

Alexander Sims led a BMW Andretti 1-2 in the second incident-filled race of Formula E’s Diriyah E-Prix, but his teammate Maximilian Gunther’s result is under threat of a post-race penalty.

Sims led the race from pole – his second of the event – and although the start passed by without incident, the rest of the race was heavily disrupted by a series of clashes in the pack.

In the early stages, Sims led ahead of Nissan e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi, who had started second, Audi’s Lucas di Grassi and Antonio Felix da Costa (DS Techeetah).

Sims controlled the pace at the head of the pack – edging clear from his pursues while maintaining his energy levels compared to his rivals, a consideration that cost him in the first race on Friday.

He used his first attack mode on lap seven of what would become a 30-lap race, which boosted his advantage before the first flash point of the race occurred.

At the Turn 18 overtaking spot – the race’s first corner at the end of the main straight – da Costa, who had previously muscled his way past di Grassi at that turn, clipped Buemi just past the apex and spun the Nissan driver around.

Buemi plummeted down the order but rejoined the action in wildly unsafe manner that forced many drivers to take avoiding actions – and he was later given a time-penalty for his actions, while da Costa was given a drivethrough for causing a collision.

On lap 13 da Costa took his first attack mode and slipped behind di Grassi, but he attacked at the first corner of the next tour, which sparked the next incident.

As di Grassi checked up on the corner exit he was attacked around the outside by race one winner Sam Bird, who then lost momentum and was attacked in turn by Jaguar’s Mitch Evans.

Evans and Bird collided as they ran through the long right-hand Turn 4 – with Evans later handed a drivethrough over the clash – and Bird lost more ground on the slippery outside line and was hit from behind by Pascal Werhlein as he ran through the next corner, which put him into the wall and out.

Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE06, car after crashing

Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE06, car after crashing

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The safety car was deployed and Sims’ advantage was erased, and when it came in there was further chaos as several drivers – including Sims for his second activation – took the attack mode before passing the safety car line.

Da Costa slowed and allowed Sims back through but Gunther made up a number of places to leap into front-running contention and hit the rear of Stoffel Vandoorne’s car on the inside of the attack mode zone, which broke his right-front wheel cover off.

The restart is currently being investigated by the FIA.

Sims then led from di Grassi as da Costa served his drivethrough, but not long later the safety car returned when Robin Frijns lost the rear of his car in the downhill first sector and hit the wall at Turn 9, where he was stranded.

The race then restarted before Frijns car had been craned away and a full course yellow was hastily brought in to slow the pack again.

When the race did get going again on lap 22, di Grassi took his second attack mode, which dropped him to fourth behind Gunther and Vandoorne.

He used the higher power mode to take third from Vandoorne at Turn 18 on the following tour, but although he harried Gunther he could not get by before his speed advantage ran out.

Gunther marshalled the gap to di Grassi, which allowed Sims to run clear to take his first FE win after successfully navigating the chaos.

Di Grassi stayed ahead of Vandoorne, who had made his way up from 11th on the grid, to take third, with Edoardo Mortara taking fifth for Venturi Racing.

Oliver Rowland took sixth for Nissan after an immediate post-race penalty for overtaking under the safety car was handed to Porsche’s Andre Lotterer, who fell to 16th as a result.

Nyck de Vries rose to seventh despite starting 23rd, while Oliver Turvey ended up eighth thanks to Lotterer’s penalty and Buemi dropping to 14th despite crossing the line ahead of the NIO driver at the flag thanks to his own time penalty.

Daniel Abt, who served a drivethrough for a throttle map infraction early in the race, finished ninth, while Jaguar rookie James Calado took 10th and his first FE point from 21st on the grid.

Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne finished 11th after starting last thanks to his post-qualifying battery change penalty, but he could not capitalise on the chaos as he had to serve a 10-second stop-go, which was included in the same sanction.

Da Costa ended up 13th, while Wehrlein was 17th. Nico Muller pulled into the pits to retire late on.

Race results:

shares
comments
Vergne consigned to last on the grid by battery change
Previous article

Vergne consigned to last on the grid by battery change

Next article

Gunther loses maiden Formula E podium

Gunther loses maiden Formula E podium
The trait Vandoorne rediscovered to claim Formula E's era-ending title Prime

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 teammate 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
Why Bird can bounce back after a tough 2021-22 Formula E season Prime

Why Bird can bounce back after a tough 2021-22 Formula E season

With his winning streak coming to an end this season, the 2021-22 Formula E season was tumultuous for Sam Bird, failing to gather momentum as Jaguar generally struggled. But the long-term favourite looks forward to bouncing back next season as the championship enters its new era

Formula E
Aug 30, 2022
What Formula E needs next after saying goodbye to Gen2 Prime

What Formula E needs next after saying goodbye to Gen2

The 2021-2022 Formula E season finale brought the curtain down on the Gen2 era of the all-electric world championship. It elevated FE to new heights, fulfilling its intended directive. While it is a good launching pad for the impending Gen3 cycle, there are certain aspects the series must tackle for the new era to have the same impact as its predecessor

Formula E
Aug 16, 2022
The traits behind Vandoorne's triumphant Formula E title charge Prime

The traits behind Vandoorne's triumphant Formula E title charge

The odds were heavily stacked in Stoffel Vandoorne’s favour to capture the Formula E crown at the Seoul finale, but chief rival Mitch Evans applied maximum pressure with victory in the first race. It meant Vandoorne had to show his resolve to reproduce the key qualities he held all season to complete his march to the title

Formula E
Aug 15, 2022
Can anyone beat Stoffel Vandoorne to the Formula E title? Prime

Can anyone beat Stoffel Vandoorne to the Formula E title?

Stoffel Vandoorne is on the brink of the Formula E title with a commanding lead ahead of the Seoul finale, but both rivals and unknowns still stand in his way. Here’s a run through of what Vandoorne must overcome to clinch the championship and how his competition will look to pull off the biggest of shocks.

Formula E
Aug 10, 2022
How Formula E's most underrated driver is taming his Dragon Prime

How Formula E's most underrated driver is taming his Dragon

It might not look like the most glittering of Formula E campaigns, but Dragon Penske’s youngster has caught the eye of those who count despite his future remaining unclear. Regardless of the distortion, Sergio Sette Camara has a clear vision of what he’s focused on and how to get there.

Formula E
Aug 4, 2022
How Formula E's title contenders were upstaged in London Prime

How Formula E's title contenders were upstaged in London

The penultimate stop on Formula E's world tour took in London's ExCeL, where the championship contenders were upstaged by two first-time winners in 2022. Andretti’s Jake Dennis kept the home fires burning in the first race as Venturi’s Lucas di Grassi claimed the second, but two consistent finishes mean its advantage Stoffel Vandoorne heading to the Seoul finale.

Formula E
Aug 1, 2022
The ex-F1 racer turned team boss adapting to a FE title fight Prime

The ex-F1 racer turned team boss adapting to a FE title fight

For the second year in a row, the Venturi team is in the thick of the fight for Formula E title glory with Edoardo Mortara. That's despite a change to a more meritocratic qualifying system, which was expected to give the works Mercedes team an edge, and ex-Formula 1 racer Jerome d'Ambrosio being new in the team principal hot seat. As he tells Motorsport.com, it's a challenge he's revelling in

Formula E
Jul 26, 2022