DIRIYAH, Saudi Arabia – Alex Sims emerged with his first Formula E victory during Saturday’s second round of the season at the Riyadh Street Circuit.
The BMW i Andretti Motorsport racer started from the pole and pulled away with the lead at the start of the event as Nissan e.dams’ Sebastian Buemi in second and Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi gave chase.
Soon DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa was on the charge, battling Buemi for position. However, contact between da Costa and Buemi sent the Nissan driver spinning out of contention.
Sam Bird, who won Friday’s season opener, ran into trouble with a bit more than 30 minutes remaining. Contact in consecutive corners with Mitch Evans and Pascal Wehrlein resulted in Bird crashing, ending his day.
Meanwhile, FIA officials decided to penalize da Costa 10 seconds for his contact with Buemi. Buemi was also penalized 10 seconds for unsafe re-entry to the race track.
The mayhem continued shortly thereafter as Robin Frijns lost control of his Audi-powered car and crashed in turn seven, resulting in a caution flag to remove his stranded car.
At that point there were just eight minutes left on the clock and Sims was still the leader. The action was all behind him on the restart as di Grassi and Stoffel Vandoorne battled for third. At the same time, Sims’ teammate Max Guenther found himself in second with only a few minutes left.
Sims was able to hold serve to collect his first Formula E triumph while Guenther finished second to give BMW a sweep of the top-two positions. Di Grassi finished third to complete the podium.
However, after the race Guenther was handed a 24-second time penalty for overtaking behind the safety car. That dropped him from second to 11th and promoted di Grassi to second and Vandoorne to third.
“That was pretty much a dream race,” said Sims. “We executed everything really well and we made the right decisions at the right time. Crossing that line was an amazing feeling. We keep learning so many lessons and there are many more to come in the near future. The team have put a lot of effort in and to deliver a win now… it’s really cool.”
Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara was credited with fourth, followed by Oliver Rowland in fifth.
Alex Sims, Lucas di Grassi, Stoffel Vandoorne, Edoardo Mortara, Oliver Rowland, Nyck de Vries, Oliver Turvey, Daniel Abt, James Calado, Jean-Eric Vergne, Max Guenther, Brendon Hartley, Antonio Felix da Costa, Sebastien Buemi, Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Pascal Wehrlein, Mitch Evans, Felipe Massa, Ma Qing Hua, Nico Mueller, Robin Frijns, Sam Bird.