The Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team had a positive start into the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, securing podiums in both races this weekend. As in the first round of the Diriyah E-Prix on Friday, Stoffel Vandoorne finished third again in the second race of the season.
Stoffel was in Group 1 for qualifying when track conditions were not yet at their best. He qualified twelfth on the grid but soon found himself back in the Top Ten after the first lap of the race. However, before the first of two safety car periods, Stoffel had already moved up into fourth place which is where he finished. Following a penalty for BMW driver Max Günther, Stoffel moved up into third place after the race, securing his second podium.
Stoffel’s team-mate Nyck de Vries also lined up in Group 1 but started the race from 23rd place on the grid following a mistake on his qualifying lap. Fighting hard, the Formula E rookie gained 17 positions over the 30 laps to cross the finish line on P6. After the race ended, he was handed a drive-through penalty which was converted into a 24-second time penalty. As a result, Nyck subsequently dropped out of the points.
And so, quite unexpectedly, Mercedes leads the team standings with a total of 38 points heading home after its debut weekend in Diriyah. After two rounds out of 14 to be contested this season, Stoffel (30 points) is second in the driver’s standings while Nyck (8 points) is in ninth place.
As was the case for Race 1, both of the team’s drivers led the fan boost voting for the second race (VAN: 23.22% / DEV: 12.61%). The Top Five from fan voting gain an extra power boost in the second stint of the race.
Comments after the Diriyah E-Prix 2019
Ian James (Team Principal):
“The team did an exceptional job during today’s race. I am so proud of all of them and especially our drivers who fought their way back. Nyck‘s recovery was really impressive and Stoffel proved what we had already seen yesterday.
It was the tight race we expected and made the best of it. But again, everyone on the track was pushing hard. Obviously, the team had the right tools in place today.
I am pleased that we could maintain the same level in consistency also today. Today’s result and also yesterday showed that we as a team are on a promising track. But for the next race, we will need to have a close look again and continue to keep improving. There is still 12 races to fight after all.”
“I moved up from eleventh on the grid to finish third, so that was an action-packed race that ended with a good result for me. I was patient initially at the start and then showed good pace. I even managed to save some energy and deploy Attack Mode once I had pulled out a gap on those behind me, and so, did not lose too many positions. There were a lot of times when the yellow flags were out during the race, plus many safety car periods and tricky situations, as with the re-starts, for example, which I had to tackle properly. Still, in view of the fact that this was only the team’s first race weekend, we can be satisfied with our points haul.”
Nyck de Vries:
“We spent a lot of time preparing for this weekend and the start of this new chapter. The team have done a top job. Unfortunately, I was a bit too optimistic in qualifying and tried too hard. I made a mistake on the second sector, which affected the rest of my lap. Apart from the penalty, I’m pleased with today’s race and our debut weekend!”