The 6th round of the Formula E 2021 season was held at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia for the second race of this weekend. BMW driver and FE rookie, Jake Dennis, secured his maiden pole position in the morning, finishing 8 tenths ahead of Alex Lynn. The championship leaders found themselves starting from the back of the grid, with the top 5 covering positions 16-20.
Written by Olly Radley, Edited by Seow Hui Zhi
The race began just after 1pm local time and it was a clean start for most, with no change in the order. The first bit of action came in the form of a drive-through penalty for Alexander Sims due to technical infringements but other than that, the race involved just a few tight overtakes and close racing in T9.
Oliver Turvey, who was running in 3rd, was the first to go for attack mode in the race, 2 minutes before those ahead of him. But lost P3 to Norman Nato in the process. The top 3 then simultaneously took their attack modes a lap or two later. Dennis held his lead, while both Lynn and Nato were overtaken by Turvey who already made his earlier passing through the attack mode activation zone. The undercut eventually failed however, as Turvey was then re-overtaken by Lynn, Nato and Lotterer.
For a while, the race was rather uneventful, apart from an incident between Antonio Felix da Costa and Rene Rast. The reigning champion was pushed off track after a tight corner side-by-side with the 3-time DTM champion, an incident which required no further action from the stewards.
Then with just under 20 minutes left, Nato went deep into Turn 9, hitting and pushing Lynn onto the gravel, demoting the Brit down to 7th from 2nd, which would have been his best ever Formula E finish. Also, the progress of Rast was notable as he had climbed his way up the order from 14th on the grid to 4th on track, with a small sacrifice of having less remaining energy than his competitors.
Turns 9 and 10, a pair of corners that caused 3 retirements in the previous race, played host to another crash and DNF between Stoffel Vandoorne and Sebastian Buemi. Buemi had been overtaken and gone wide at Turn 9, giving Vandoorne the perfect opportunity for a late braking overtake maneuver. However, Buemi took the apex at the next corner which pushed Vandoorne’s right front wheel into a wall. The incident cost Buemi a lot of time and cost Vandoorne a points finish. Former F1 and FE driver Karun Chandhok, who was commentating said it was “50/50” and that “2 into 1 doesn’t work there”.
Da Costa’s improper use of attack mode resulted in a drive-through penalty. Nato, running in P2 was awarded a 5 second time penalty for his earlier incident with Lynn, who had now climbed back to P4.
On the penultimate lap, Jake Dennis approached the line with less than 20 seconds left on the clock, his team ordered him to slow down so they’d only need to complete 1 more lap, which he did flawlessly, taking a maiden victory in Formula E. Dennis earned 28 well-deserved points after a mature and brilliant lights-to-flag victory.
Top 5 finishers:
Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti Motorsport)
Andre Lotterer (TAG Heuer Porsche)
Alex Lynn (Mahindra Racing)
Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.DAMS)
Norman Nato (ROKIT Venturi Racing)
Another important thing to note was that none of the top 5 in the drivers championship scored any points in the race.
With the points from pole and the win in the bag, Jake Dennis soared into 8th in the championship, while the top 5 positions remained the same. After a P6 and P5 finish this weekend, Rene Rast jumped into 6th overall with Jean-Eric Vergne level on points. The next race this season is in Monaco on Saturday, May 8th and for the first time, they will be using the F1 GP layout.