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Sims heads Andretti one-two in chaotic Formula E race

Mat Coch

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Sunday 24th November, 2019 - 6:12am

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Alexander Sims won his first Formula E race

Alexander Sims has claimed his first Formula E race win in a chaotic second event at the Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia.

Starting from pole, Sims enjoyed a relatively straightforward race out front as drama unfolded behind him.

Through it all, Maximilian Gunther and Lucas Di Grassi claimed the minor podium places, though Gunther’s second place is under a cloud pending a post-race investigation.

After a fairly subdued start, the action began on Lap 7 when Antonio Felix Da Costa clipped Sebastien Buemi, pitching the Swiss driver into a spin.

Buemi then compounded the issue by rejoining in an unsafe manner, for which he would be slapped with a time penalty while Da Costa picked up a drive through for his part in the incident.

Da Costa was involved in the race’s second skirmish too, activating Attack Mode on Lap 13 and dropping behind Lucas Di Grassi in the process.

As they squabbled Di Grassi was forced to check up, allowing Bird to have a look around the outside, only for the previous day’s race winner to be attacked by Mitch Evans.

Bird and Evans then touched at Turn 4, with Pascal Wehrlein clouting the former at Turn 5 to take him out of the race.

The exchange earned Evans a drive through penalty, while the resulting Safety Car caused chaos in the pack.

Race leader Sims moved to activate Attack Mode before crossing the Safety Car line, falling behind Da Costa in the process.

As he was allowed back through, the yellow flags out and therefore passing not permitted, Gunther tagged Stoffel Vandoorne.

The race restart was also investigated.

Sims then led from Di Grassi as Da Costa headed to the lane to serve his drive through for the contact with Buemi earlier in the race.

The race was quickly interrupted again when Robert Frijns found the wall at Turn 9.

Officials were too eager to get the race restarted, waving the green flag while Frijn’s car was still being craned away, forcing the hasty deployment of a Full Course Yellow to neutralise the race once more.

The race went green again on Lap 22, Di Grassi taking Attack Mode to fall from second to fourth behind Gunther and Vandoorne.

Able to pick of Vandoorne, Di Grassi couldn’t find a way through on Gunther and was forced to settle for third behind the Andretti Autosport one-two.

Sims now leads the championship after its opening two races by five points over Vandoorne, with Santiago set to play host to the next round on January 18.

Race results: Race 2, Diriyah

Pos Driver Team Laps Race time
1 A. SIMS BMW i Andretti Motorsport 30 46:48.327
2 L. DI GRASSI Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team 30 46:51.144
3 S. VANDOORNE Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team 30 46:51.908
4 E. MORTARA ROKiT Venturi Racing 30 46:52.621
5 O. ROWLAND Nissan e.dams 30 46:53.802
6 D. ABT Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team 30 47:05.269
7 J. CALADO Panasonic Jaguar Racing 30 47:05.548
8 J. VERGNE DS Techeetah 30 47:07.721
9 B. HARTLEY Geox Dragon 30 47:09.029
10 A. DA COSTA DS Techeetah 30 47:10.961
11 M. GÜNTHER BMW i Andretti Motorsport 30 47:13.710
12 S. BUEMI Nissan e.dams 30 47:14.618
13 N. JANI TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 30 47:15.820
14 A. LOTTERER TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 30 47:17.373
15 P. WEHRLEIN Mahindra Racing 30 47:23.617
16 N. DE VRIES Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team 30 47:24.645
17 F. MASSA ROKiT Venturi Racing 30 47:34.085
18 M. EVANS Panasonic Jaguar Racing 30 47:49.432
19 MA QING HUA NIO 333 FE Team 30 48:16.492
DNF N. MÜLLER Geox Dragon 28 45:09.814
DNF R. FRIJNS Envision Virgin Racing 18 27:09.645
DNF S. BIRD Envision Virgin Racing 13 16:45.189
DNF J. D’AMBROSIO Mahindra Racing
DSQ O. TURVEY NIO 333 FE Team

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Alexander Sims 35
2 Stoffel Vandoorne 30
3 Sam Bird 26
4 Oliver Rowland 22
5 Lucas di Grassi 18
6 André Lotterer 18
7 Edoardo Mortara 18
8 Robin Frijns 10
9 Nyck de Vries 8
10 Daniel Abt 8
11 James Calado 6
12 Jean-Éric Vergne 4
13 Antonio Félix da Costa 3
14 Brendon Hartley 2
15 Jérôme D’Ambrosio 2
16 Mitch Evans 2
17 Pascal Wehrlein 0
18 Maximilian Günther 0
19 Felipe Massa 0
20 Sébastien Buemi 0
21 Neel Jani 0
22 Oliver Turvey 0
23 Ma Qing Hua 0
24 Nico Müller 0

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