And finally we have Formula E cars back on track! We had Free Practice 1 to start things off and for some it was good where as for others not so…
In the first five minutes reigning champion Nyck de Vries struck the wall into Turn 3 with the rear of his Silver Arrow getting sideways and damage enough to force the Dutchman into retiring the car from the session which turned the whole course yellow.
The track condition at Riyadh Street Circuit is always tough to manage during the opening session, the track evolves and gets faster as it cleans up. As conditions started to come to the drivers, Nissan e.dams new boy Maximillian Guenther set the target for the rest to chase mid-way through FP1. But it was Mahindra Racing’s new signing Oliver Rowland who hit the top of the timesheets at the end, with a 1m 10.559s, with Antonio Felix da Costa in 2nd and Jake Dennis in third.
Going on to the second free practice session, it was Oliver Rowland again who took the top spot with Sam Bird whose won twice in Saudi Arabia was in 2nd by just 0.015. Third was Jake Dennis again making it an all British top 3.
Rowland’s time was just over a second quicker than the times on Thursday due to the track. However it was the reigning champs who were down the order, with Stoffel Vandoorne 16th and Nyck a couple of spots back.
Now onto qualifying- the new format for all the drivers but it was infact Mercedes’ Stoffel Vandoorne who took pole position. The final duel was between Stoffel and Jake (Dennis), Dennis originally flew off the line but his Andretti looked a lot looser than the Mercedes, and by the half-way point of the lap the Belgian had romped four tenths of a second clear.
The top for qualifying are: P1: Vandoorne, P2: Dennis, P3: De Vries, P4: Lotterer, P5: Bird, P6: Cassidy, P7:Frijns, P8: Oliver Rowland, P9: Di Grassi, P10: Gunther.
Now onto the race! It was the reigning champion taking the first race win of the season just like last year! And his team-mate bringing it home in second making the Mercedes EQ team have a 1-2!! What a way to start the season. The last podium spot going to Jake Dennis.
The last couple of laps saw 4 drivers all battling for fourth position which involved Sam Bird, Lucas Di Grassi, Edoardo Mortara and Nick Cassidy. With Sam Bird making that fourth position.