Formula E Rome ePrix 2021

Another weekend brought another spectacle of racing, ranging from new podium sitters to first points. The 12 teams set out for another weekend in Rome, with a double header. This year, the track had been slightly revised compared to previous seasons here.

“I think all of us within the team understand that it’s going to be a difficult two days” – Sam Bird

Qualifying

In group one, Mortara missed the chequered flag, meaning he was unable to set a lap time in qualifying. Frijns was the onlhy one to sent a warm up lap and during his flying lap, he sets the quickest sector one. De Vries sets the inital benchmark, but it was quickly beaten by Robin after setting a 1:39.081.

Wehrlein slots himself into 3rd, until Oliver Rowland beats Frijns’ time by 0.59 seconds. Sette Camara slots in after Evans, with his teammate behind. Rast has a minor incident to drop to 10th after having to take evasive action into a corner. Turvey didn’t set a lap due to an accident in practice – which later he did not partake in the race.

Sims starts the group’s times into 7th, setting a time 1.338 seconds slower than Rowland. Vandoorne pushes himself to 2nd, whilst Vergne slots into 3rd. Then Lotterer beats all of them by going into 2nd, whilst di Grassi goes behind Vandoorne, sitting 4th.

Cassidy sets the quickest first sector, being up by four tenths. A failure on his car meant he ended up having to back out of his lap and stop on track. Meanwhile, Gunther drops Frijns to 7th as he slots into 6th.

The drivers who made it into superpole are: Oliver Rowland, Andre Lotterer, Stoffel Vandoorne, Lucas di Grassi, Jean-Eric Vergne and Maxmilian Gunther. Gunther sets the initial time of 1.39:751, with Vergne being next to attempt to beat his time. The Techeetah driver beats him easily by eight tenths, slotting himself into first. Lucas sets a quicker sector two and three, putting a 1:38.903 on the timing sheets. The lap was no challenge for Stoffel Vandoorne after he beats the Brazilian’s time by 0.4 seconds. Lotterer picked up a piece of advertisement on his car during his lap, but misses out to Vandoorne by almost two tenths. It seemed like Rowland was onto his 5th pole position, but it was short lived as he hits the wall on the final corner, dropping himself to 3rd.

The grid is as follows:
1. Stoffel Vandoorne
2. Andre Lotterer
3. Oliver Rowland
4. Lucas di Grassi
5. Jean-Eric Vergne
6. Maximilian Gunther
7. Robin Frijns
8. Nyck de Vries
9. Pascal Wehrlein
10. Sebastien Buemi
11. Sam Bird
12. Mitch Evans
13. Alex Lynn
14. Norman Nato
15. Alexander Sims
16. Sergio Sette Camara
17. Nico Muller
18. Antonio Felix da Costa
19. Tom Blomqvist
20. Jake Dennis
21. Rene Rast
22. Nick Cassidy
23. NO LAP SET Edoardo Mortara
24. DNS Oliver Turvey

“The car’s been good and very competitive” – Stoffel Vandoorne

Race One

The race started off under safety car conditions, because during the grid lineup, it had rained, dampening the track. But after travelling around the track for 5 minutes, the green flag is waved, ready for the race to begin.

Not even one lap in, Sam Bird passes Buemi for 9th, whilst at the front, Lotterer goes for an ambitious move over Vandoorne for first. It wasn’t for the German as the pair continue straight on, putting Lotterer in the wall – with no major damage – and Stoffel into the escape road. Andre gets going again into 7th, but the Mercedes driver ends up 13th. This allowed Rowland into the lead of the race, with di Grassi behind, however, it was short lasted as he was given a drive through penalty for overconsuming. Meanwhile, Alexander Sims’ car started slowing down the straight, ending his race there.

Stoffel Vandoorne takes the first attack mode of the race in 13th. He advances ahead of Lynn and Nato and has Gunther ahead. Meanwhile, Vergne had started to fight Lucas for the lead of the race. Sergio Sette Camara halted at one of the corners, but managed to get it going again, though now drops to the back of the grid.

Lotterer manages to pass Bird for 6th, leaving him within the grasps of his teammate Evans. The top 10 remained very close to each other, barely leaving any room for error. Vergne becomes the first in the top eight to take the attack mode and ends up in 5th after taking, slotting in front of Bird. Lotterer loses out to Sam in the process as well.

Nyck de Vries takes his attack mode, along with Frijns, Wehrlein and Lotterer. Bird and Evans advance ahead of Wehrlein, whilst Vergne promotes himself back to second. Lucas, who is leading the race, has yet to take his.

In the following lap, di Grassi and Bird takes theirs, allowing Vergne to take the lead and Evans to promote himself to 5th. Meanwhile, Robin Frijns pressures Vergne for the lead of the race, whilst Lucas and Nyck follow the leading pair.

Robin Frijns attempts down the outside, whilst Vergne takes in the inside. The Frenchman keeps the position from him, though di Grassi seizes this opportunity to push his way past the Envision driver and does exactly that to promote himself to second. Behind, Wehrlein and Evans was side by side for 7th, but the Mahindra driver keeps ahead.

Vergne decides to take his second attack mode with 16 minutes left to go. He drops behind Nyck de Vries. Everyone ahead and behind were off attack mode with either one or zero left, meaning this was JEV’s time to advance. Not long, he was behind the Mercedes driver, challenging for 2nd.

As Nyck was being told to close the gap to Lucas, the Audi driver decides to take his second attack mode. Vergne passes the Brazilian, meaning he would have to defend later into the race. Meanwhile, the battle for 4th continued, as Bird barges his way past Frijns to take the position.

Vergne takes the lead, as de Vries, Bird and Frijns take their second attack mode. Sam Bird easily overtook Stoffel Vandoorne for 4th with this extra power boost, meanwhile behind, Robin Frijns passes Wehrlein for 7th.

The yellow flag was waved as Norman Nato was carrying some of the advertisements on his car, whilst Dennis retires his car. The race for the lead never stopped as Lucas di Grassi was now advancing on Vergne for first. De Vries and Bird have caught up to the two front pair, now all within a small distance of each other. Sam seizes this opportunity to pass Nyck, moving up to 3rd. His teammate does the same for Vandoorne, whilst he has the extra power boost of attack mode.

With seven minutes on the clock, Lucas decides to send a move on Vergne and gets passed the Techeetah driver. Meanwhile, the two Jaguars had made it up to near the podium spots, sitting comfortably in 3rd and 4th.

Vandoorne uses his fan boost to overtake de Vries, promoting himself to 5th. As Lucas di Grassi was slowing due to a driveshaft failure. Stoffel went over a cover on track that sent him careering into the wall as he was unable to turn. His teammate was then collected as he tried to evade the Audi car, colliding into the back. The safety car was deployed to retrieve all the cars. The race ended there as the safety car cruised around the track.

The first race results are:
1. Jean-Eric Vergne
2. Sam Bird
3. Mitch Evans
4. Robin Frijns
5. Sebastien Buemi
6. Rene Rast
7. Pascal Wehrlein
8. Alex Lynn
9. Maximilian Gunther
10. Nick Cassidy
11. Tom Blomqvist
12. Norman Nato
13. Oliver Rowland
14. Nico Muller
15. Sergio Sette Camara
16. Andre Lotterer
17. DNF Lucas di Grassi
18. DNF Nyck de Vries
19. DNF Stoffel Vandoorne
20. DNF Antonio Felix da Costa
21. DNF Jake Dennis
22. DNF Edoardo Mortara
23. DNF Alexander Sims
24. DNS Oliver Turvey

“Today was our first race day with the new powertrain and it started well, it felt really good” – Jean-Eric Vergne

Qualifying

The session started with a damp track, meaning the cars were significantly slower than the previous day. De Vries ses the benchmark with a 2:01.229, in which Rast, Vergne and Rast go slower, whilst Bird and Evans beat the Mercedes’ time.

Sette Camara’s car stopped on track, being unable to set a time, whilst everyone else continued seting their time. Wehrlein seizes the pole position with a 1:58.777, whilst Mortara, Rowland and Buemi all slot in from 2nd onwards. Da Costa only manages 7th.

Vandorne only manages 2nd, missing out by three tenths. Muller moves up to 5th, but Sims takes provisional pole by 0.2 seconds, setting a 1:58.500.

As the track dries up, the last group’s times were significantly quicker. Lotterer beats Sims’ time by 2.229 seconds, setting a 1:56.271. Nato and Cassidy set incredible sector two’s to challenge Lotterer. Gunther slots into 2nd, which was beaten by Nato immediately as he tops the timing sheet. Cassidy slots into 3rd, whilst Blomqvist moves to 15th. Jake Dennis doesn’t set a time for qualifying.

The superpole candidates are: Norman Nato, Nick Cassidy, Maximilian Gunther, Alexander Sims, Pascal Wehrlein and Stoffel Vandoorne. Lotterer’s time was disqualified due to power overusage, hence Stoffel was promoted into superpole. Vandoorne starts the superpole session with a 1:54.359. Wehrlein beats this by 1.7 seconds. For Sims, it wasn’t much of a lap, considering he missed out to Pascal by just under three seconds. Gunther manages no better, only beating Sims and missing out to the Porsche driver on provisional pole by 2 seconds. Nick Cassidy sets an all purple lap, easily taking it from Wehrlein by six tenths, sitting on the top step for the first time. Nato beats the Envision’s second sector, but it wasn’t enough to take it from him, setting an all rookie front row.

The grid is as follows:
1. Nick Cassidy
2. Norman Nato
3. Pascal Wehrlein
4. Stoffel Vandoorne
5. Maximilian Gunther
6. Alexander Sims
7. Edoardo Mortara
8. Oliver Rowland
9. Nico Muller
10. Sebastien Buemi
11. Sam Bird
12. Mitch Evans
13. Lucas di Grassi
14. Tom Blomqvist
15. Antonio Felix da Costa
16. Alex Lynn
17. Oliver Turvey
18. Nyck de Vries
19. Robin Frijns
20. Rene Rast
21. Jean-Eric Vergne
22. DSQ Andre Lotterer
23. NO LAP SET Sergio Sette Camara
24. DNS Jake Dennis

“I’m pleased today all came together” – Nick Cassidy

Race Two

Like for the first race, it started under yellow flag and safety car conditions.

Unfortunately for Nick Cassidy, he loses the lead within the first corner, promoting Nato to the lead. He drops himself to 11th, behind Sam Bird. Gunther makes a move on Sims around the inside for 4th and takes it from the Briton.

Andre Lotterer is given a 10 second stop and go for changing parts over the limit, despite the fact he sits in 21st. Cassidy doesn’t back down from earlier, overtaking Buemi for 9th.

Wehrlein makes the move for the lead of the race, taking it from the French driver. Vandoorne does the same just several corners later, dropping the Venturi driver to 3rd. Behind, Bird makes a move on Buemi, now sat behind Muller.

Cassidy tries to overtake Rowland for 7th, but the British driver maintains ahead of the Kiwi for the time being. Oliver goes for attack mode, coming out behind him and attempted to take a move against Nick, but ends up clipping his back, sending the Envision driver into the wall. He was later given a 10 second penalty for the incident. Nyck de Vries passes Blomqvist for 15th. Meanwhile, Robin Frijns gets a penalty for not keeping within 10 car lengths during the safety car start.

Vandoorne, Nato and Gunther all take their attack mode. Rowland promotes himself to 5th, whilst Nato drops to 6th. As the Nissan driver’s attack mode runs out, Gunther gets ahead and Nato tries the same, but the British driver holds on. Bird tries to overtake Muller and locks up, dropping both lower down the grid.

Wehrlein takes his first attack mode, meaning Vandoorne inherits the lead. Meanwhile, di Grassi is off in the run off area, earning damage on the front due to a collision with Buemi. With all the debris on track, the full course yellow was started.

Sims overtakes Wehrlein within the restart, promoting himself to second. Vandoorne uses his large gap to take his attack mode. Nato, Mortara, Buemi and de Vries did the same. Gunther gets past Nato for 4th aggressively, meaning the French driver slowed hard, allowing Rowland to be within grasps. However, Mortara passes Rowland, meaning the Venturi driver sits 6th.

Gunther misses his attack mode, meaning he had to take it again the following lap, which occurred at the same time as Sims and Wehrlein. Behind, de Vries locks up all four wheels, losing out and dropping to 11th from 9th.

Nato defends from a speedy Maximilian Gunther, keeping 4th from the BMW driver. Buemi loses out to da Costa and now had Evans behind. The Jaguar driver had no intention of backing out as he was on the rear of the Nissan e.DAMS car. Just a few corners later, he passes him, promoting himself to 9th.

Stoffel Vandoorne leads the race by 5 seconds and extends his gap using attack mode. Behind, da Costa passes Rowland for 7th, making his trek up the grid from 15th. Gunther tries to overtake Mortara around the outside, but backs out of the move.

Nato manages to pass Wehrlein for 3rd, but crucially, he has 2% less energy than Sims and Wehrlein, which could prove critical for the end of the race.

Rast hit the wall and ended up cruising into another, bringing out the yellow flag. The safety car was later brought out with 6 minutes left on the timer. This time, the race resumes on the final lap. Mortara saves his position against Gunther for 5th. Meanwhile, de Vries, Bird and Rowland were all caught up in an incident with each other. Nyck tries to overtake Sam, but ends up collecting him and then later Rowland, ending all their races.

Norman Nato was later given a disqualification for energy overuse, meaning Wehrlein was promoted to the third place slot.

The race results are:
1. Stoffel Vandoorne
2. Alexander Sims
3. Pascal Wehrlein
4. Edoardo Mortara
5. Maximilian Gunther
6. Mitch Evans
7. Antonio Felix da Costa
8. Sebastien Buemi
9. Tom Blomqvist
10. Nico Muller
11. Jean-Eric Vergne
12. Sergio Sette Camara
13. Jake Dennis
14. Oliver Turvey
15. Andre Lotterer
16. Oliver Rowland
17. Alex Lynn
18. Robin Frijns
19. Sam Bird
20. Nyck de Vries
21. DNF Nick Cassidy
22. DNF Rene Rast
23. DNF Lucas di Grassi
24. DSQ Norman Nato

“It was redemption. I kept believing and was confident in the car.” – Stoffel Vandoorne

We’ll be back on Wednesday for a Race Review, with what we thought of our predictions, highlights, lowlights, underrated drivers and so on. Check on our social medias to see how you can be included in these posts!

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