Nyck de Vries, Mercedes, Formula E, Diriyah E-Prix, Race 1, 2022

De Vries wins opening Diriyah race after Vandoorne misses attack mode

Formula E

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Reigning Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries won the opening round of the 2022 season ahead of Mercedes team mate Stoffel Vandoorne in Saudi Arabia.

Vandoorne had led from pole, but surrendered the lead after he failed to activate his second attack mode correctly. Jake Dennis took third place on the podium after passing Andre Lotterer.

At the start, Vandoorne led away from pole while Nyck de Vries jumped Jake Dennis to take second place and a Mercedes one-two. Antonio Felix da Costa immediately pulled into the pits before completing the first lap with terminal suspension damage on his Techeetah caused by contact.

Lucas di Grassi, in his first race with the Venturi team, moved past Sam Bird to take fifth down the long startline straight. Fourth-placed Andre Lotterer was the first driver to activate his first attack mode followed the next lap by De Vries and Dennis ahead.

Vandoorne responded by taking his first attack mode and retained the lead, but the race was neutralised soon after when the Safety Car was deployed after contact between Robin Frijns and Oliver Rowland sent Rowland’s Mahindra into the wall at turn 17. Frijns later received a drive through penalty for the collision, while Rowland was awarded a three-place grid drop for tomorrow’s second race.

When the race restarted, Vandoorne attempted to take his second attack mode of the race, but was not awarded it after missing the first activation point. That dropped him behind team mate De Vries, as the pair then took their second attack mode together on the following lap, meaning De Vries was now in the lead of the race.

Lotterer passed Dennis to move into third place, but struggled to keep up with the pace of the leading Mercedes, who began to gradually build a gap to the Porsche behind. Dennis was rudely rebuffed by Lotterer when attempting to repass him along the start straight, before a second attempt laps later also failed when he ran wide at turn 18 after trying to out brake him.

With just under ten minutes of race time remaining, Dennis had a third attempt at Lotterer’s third place heading into turn 18 and managed to barge his way through. Despite warning his team over radio that he feared he had suffered a puncture, Dennis was able to pull away from the Porsche and begin to slowly bridge the gap to the Mercedes. Lotterer then lost more places to Sam Bird, Di Grassi and Edoardo Mortara, eventually dropping down to 13th place.

With five additional minutes added to the race time due to the Safety Car, energy usage became critical in the final laps. The Mercedes had enough of a margin to cruise through the final lap and take a one-two to start the season, with De Vries starting off his championship title defence in the best possible fashion.

Dennis secured third for Andretti, with Bird finishing fourth. Di Grassi took fifth place, while Mortara passed Nick Cassidy for sixth at the line after Cassidy ran out of usable energy. Jean-Eric Vergne finished eighth, with rookie Oliver Askew scoring points in ninth. Mitch Evans rounded out the points in tenth.

Rookies Dan Ticktum and former Alfa Romeo Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi had challenging debuts, with Ticktum finishing in 18th and Giovinazzi the final car running in 20th.

Provisional race results

1Nyck de VriesMercedes
2Stoffel VandoorneMercedes
3Jake DennisAndretti
4Sam BirdJaguar
5Lucas di GrassiVenturi
6Edoardo MortaraVenturi
7Nick CassidyEnvision
8Jean-Eric VergneTecheetah
9Oliver AskewAndretti
10Mitch EvansJaguar
11Pascal WehrleinPorsche
12Max GuentherNissan Edams
13Andre LottererPorsche
14Alexander SimsMahindra
15Sergio Sette CamaraDragon Penske
16Robin FrijnsEnvision
17Sebastien BuemiNissan Edams
18Dan TicktumNio
19Oliver TurveyNio
20Antonio GiovinazziDragon Penske
DNFOliver RowlandMahindra
DNFAntonio Felix da CostaTecheetah

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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21 comments on “De Vries wins opening Diriyah race after Vandoorne misses attack mode”

  1. Loved the new qualifying format, but the attack mode has to go. Not a serious racing series.

    1. Agreed, makes it a fake computergame.
      Expected to see coins in the air…

    2. @hahastolze It is as sensible as F1’s mandatory pitstop rule, and misainfg attack mode is analogous to speeding in the pits.

  2. This highlights my main gripe with attack mode. I’m not against the concept, it’s always going to be difficult to overtake in FE and I don’t mind something to help people make passes. But it’s the activation zones that drive my head in. We’ve seen people disadvantaged and lose places because of missing them before, but I believe this is the first time someone has lost a win because of it.

  3. I really enjoyed it. I don’t understand if it was Stofflel’s fault or not with ‘attack mode’? There’s still lots I struggle with with Formula E, plenty I don’t understand, some of it seems very clumsy when portraying technical innovation. But I enjoyed the race. I did giggle when the sound cut out with 5 minutes left, and everyone on the Youtube message board (which I like by the way), just kept saying it was always this quiet.

    I’ve perhaps only watched, maybe ten races? And usually when working or doing something else. But I sat down and gave it a ‘proper go’, and enjoyed it. Even if lots of it doesn’t sit right with me. I’ve always had a soft stop for de Vries. Might have helped. He’s always seemed like someone who’s card just fall right or he wasn’t quick at the right time. I’m glad he’s found a home.

  4. That was the first Formula E race I’d watched from start to finish (I’m planning on watching a few different series this year such as FE, indy etc) and on the whole I enjoyed it. I recognised some drivers from junior formula series and obviously Ticktum, Gio, Vandoorne and Di Grassi as well.
    Overall an enjoyable watch but felt slightly gimmicky, especially a win being lost because of not going over a boost zone but I got used to the sound (or lack of) towards the end as well which I wasn’t sure I would (insert joke about nobody realising the feed had no sound for 5 minutes here)

  5. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    28th January 2022, 19:31

    after contact between Robin Frijns and Oliver Rowland sent Rowland’s Mahindra into the wall at turn 17. Frijns later received a drive through penalty for the collision, while Rowland was awarded a three-place grid drop for tomorrow’s second race.

    As solmeone who only reads the FE-summaries on here and is used to the F1-penalties, I find this one a bit hard to understand. They both get a penalty (albeit different) for the same collission that only affected both? Seems a bit silly

    1. @barryfromdownunder To clarify, Rowland and Frijns got together while racing at turn 14, then again in turn 17 that resulted in Rowland spinning into the barriers.

      Rowland retired but got a three-place grid penalty for the contact with Frijns earlier in the lap. Frijns continued and was handed a drive-through for the second incident that sent Rowland into the wall.

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        28th January 2022, 20:13

        Ah, cheers! Thought it was a bit weird to have two people ‘guilty’ of the same crash.

        In that case, fair judgement. Good to see they don’t cross two sepperate incident away against eachother because it involves the same drivers. Maybe F1 can learn from that part

    2. @barryfromdownunder Oliver Rowland also collected a penalty for ‘driving too slowly in the pitlane’, which though I’m fairly sure is a punishable offence in any motorsport. (even in F1 pre-94′, as you could theoretically back everyone up to assist your teammate).

      Oli Rowland did this during a qualifying session though? How does that happen? I’m sure the answer is obvious once explained, but at the moment I’ve no idea.

      The first Ice Hockey game I went to I couldn’t understand why everyone was leaving at the end of the third quarter, I thought maybe it was a protest or something. Turns out Ice Hockey is not played in halves or quarters, but instead thirds. By the time I had realised I’d just witnessed an exciting last minute finish, everyone had left the arena.

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        28th January 2022, 20:16

        Cheers! Might actually have to start watching the FE-races. Seems interesting enough.

        Regarding your question about driving too slow in pitlane: maybe holding people up so they can no longer get a quick lap in before the flag? Last F1-season there were a few of those examples (Hungary I think was one of them with Hamilton holding up Verstappen) in pitlane-exit. Not too sure if that applies to FE as well. I know Hamilton got away with it, although Horner called it something like ‘low sportsmanship’ or something.

      2. AFAIK it was not for holding someone up but tor a better timing of his lap.
        The tracks in FE are very dirty and each drive makes the track a bit faster. So being the last driver setting a fast lap, you should be having the biggest advantage. This is also the reason why they changed the quali format

  6. Oliver ‘Turkey’ in 19th? 😂😂 Bit disrespectful??😂😂

    1. Autocorrect can, unfortunately, happen to the most diligent of us.

  7. Jeffrey Powell
    28th January 2022, 22:54

    I shouldn’t really comment as I didn’t watch any of it, but 50 years ago I watched my little brother race with highly modified scalextrix on a 4 lane track some 40 feet by 10 feet , I have tried to watch FE. before but each time it transfixed me back to those events, I think it’s the so called circuits , the actual racing seemed quite good. It’s a great pity they can’t use the Club Circuit at Brands..

  8. I watch every racing championship I can (a shame that Japanese Superformula is impossible to watch): F1, F2, F3, some regional F4 on youtube, Indycar, WEC… and every year I try to like FE but for me it’s impossible.
    I don’t know if it’s because the lack of noise, the lack of atmosphere on the stands, the subpar circuits, the “electric is the future and F1 is very bad” self-entitlement, the fanboost/powerboost etc… but I think I’m going to avoid this season.

    Although next year there are new cars :-)

    1. In order to give you a hint on how little I like FE: yesterday I changed channel midrace to watch F1 Monaco race, yes, fricking Monaco 2021 race.

      1. @doctorlovesexy Imagine how boring and annoying it would be if every time someone mentioned F1 a load of people went “ah, well, since they got rid of V8s I now only watch WEC” – is it strictly necessary to tell everyone how much you don’t like something any time it’s brought up?

        1. Don’t worry Hazel. I’m not that active in the comments section but I won’t participate again in any FE articles.

        2. This.
          It always happen and looks like it always will under every single FE article

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