Formula E Diriyah Round 3 – Is this Porsche’s Year?
Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein again took the win in another eventful formula E race the second of two in Diriyah.
FP3 was an uneventful session on Saturday morning with teams mainly using the session to refine setups and warm themselves up for qualifying and the race. The main story from the session was Maserati managed to get both cars out after an overnight rebuild after a disastrous Friday. Mitch Evans topped the times with Dan Ticktum and Jean Eric Vergne in tow.
The group stage of qualifying was rather uneventful with the now becoming usual cars of McLaren, Jaguar and Andretti making it through. However, there were one or two surprises with somehow the DS Penske of Stoffel Vandoorne making it through to the duels for the first time as a partnership and somehow Edoardo Mortara getting his rebuilt Maserati MSG into the duel format as well.
The duels went a similar way to yesterday with Sebastian Buemi, Jake Hughes, Rene Rast and Mitch Evans progressing into the semis. The semis placed Hughes against Buemi in a match up mirroring yesterday’s final in which Hughes prevailed.
Rast went against Evans in the other and Evans won. So this setup a huge final for both McLaren and Jaguar with McLaren and Hughes both hunting a debut podium and Jaguar looking to build on their podium from yesterday.
Yet McLaren and Hughes won. Therefore, sending shockwaves throughout the FE paddock which showed the Brummie rookie has arrived in Formula E and also shown that McLaren can be successful in any formula.
In what was once again what could be called an eventful game of chess or leapfrog. The race delivered action lap after lap. On lap one turn one (for the first time ever at the Diriyah track) Mitch Evans overtook Hughes and built a consistent lead of half a second.
However, this wasn’t to be the decided winner (never is in FE). In the same manner as yesterday Pascal Wehrlein and Jake Dennis made their way through the field to take the lead and second place respectively. Sadly Hughes and Evans slipped down the Field to P5 and P6.
The race also included a safety car as somehow Nico Muller mullered his car in the wall after forgetting how to slow his car down. This didn’t change the race order at this stage as Rene Rast managed to just about hang on and defend from Sam Bird for P3 behind Dennis and Wehrlein.
The craziest moment of the race was yet to come however as on the final corner Jake Hughes ran out of energy which led him to being pushed over the line by Evans and Buemi just missing on out overtaking Hughes due to Evans’s Push.
My Closing thoughts
While today was a much more mental race than yesterday, It will leave Formula E’s bosses concerned that their USP of unpredictability is under threat by Porsche and its customer’s ability to be so dominant in races. Overall the weekend was much more eventful than the Mexico opener and the potentially now infamous pushing moment should at least gain Formula E some social media hype over the coming days and ensure more eyes will be on the first ever Indian Formula E race in Hyderabad in two weeks time.