It was a strong start to qualifying on Saturday for Stoffel Vandoorne, who beat off his opponents in the final stages and claimed his seventh pole position in his ABB FIA Formula E career. Nyck de Vries lost out on a second-place qualifying position by a mere tenth of a second and began the race in third place on the grid.
The race began well, with Stoffel and Nyck managing to maintain their positions, before the early introduction of a safety car, which added a subsequent 5:15 minutes to the total race time, meaning drivers had to be cautious of energy management. It was non-stop electric action throughout the 27-lap race, with the race leader on constant rotation, but Stoffel managed to cross the line in third place and secure his ninth podium position in Formula E. He spoke of the challenges faced throughout: “That was a tough fight from start to finish. A really tough race today. Getting strategy right was tricky.” Unfortunately, despite a clear start, his teammate Nyck was forced to retire after contact with another car just before the end of the race.
Sunday began with a less promising start for the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team, with Stoffel qualifying in fifth place on the grid and Nyck lining up in thirteenth, after a three-place penalty from the previous race was applied.
Stoffel was able to improve on his position throughout the race and in with a fighting chance towards the end. However, a late safety car deployment meant he was deprived of the opportunity to fully exercise Attack Mode, and he crossed the finish line in fifth place.
Nyck fought hard throughout the race to gain six positions and cross the chequered flag in seventh place but was subsequently given a 10-second time penalty for a collision with another driver earlier in the race, dispossessing him of any further points for the team. He talked of his disappointment from the whole weekend but ended on a positive note with the Monaco E-Prix on the horizon: “Obviously, that was a very disappointing weekend, but unfortunately, we can’t turn it back. I felt we were competitive today, which wasn’t really the case yesterday. So that’s at least encouraging, because obviously everything starts from the pace you have in the car.”
Speaking after the Rome E-Prix, Team Principal Ian James looked ahead to the next race in less than three weeks’ time and declared a renewed sense of determination: “Our next challenge will be in just under three weeks’ time, in Monaco. A lot to prove and we are hungry for a great result for both drivers again after this weekend.”
Leaving Italy, Stoffel sits in third place in the Drivers Standings and Nyck is currently in eighth place. Despite the ups and downs of the weekend, the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team have improved on their position and currently lead the Team Standings by nine points. Bring on Monaco and Round 6!
Vestas Forecaster results:
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