The Formula E is synonymous with melee, with all the pilots going knife fighting for position. And in a permanent circuit like that of the Ricardo TormoWith enough space that invites you to try overtaking which in city centers are more complex, the excitement was assured. Even more so if the clouds presented their candidacy to become protagonists in the first of the two Valencian events this weekend, throwing rain on the track. The cocktail was electrifying and promised excitement. And he did not disappoint from the first lap of an absolutely crazy race, with up to four appearances of the ‘Safety Car’ and that it was decided in an incredible way in favor of Nick De Vries (Mercedes), and very cruel for the current champion, Antonio Félix Da Costa (DS Techeetah), which was left without a victory in the absence of a single lap when it ran out of battery, harmed by the many safety cars that appeared.
The race got so far from rational that Müller, who started 22nd, finished second. Not to mention Vandoorne, that after being sanctioned in the qualy after being the fastest, he achieved a creditable third position starting from the last place in a race in which only 12 riders out of the total of 24 finished, all of them, with their tongues out, without energy.
Start launched in the wet
From the pole, the current champion had to defend his position at the start launched after the ‘Safety’Due to the slippery conditions of a tarmac that was going to live a real battle without rest. It was seen in the first turn, where Lotterer, battling for position with Nato at the chicane set at the start of the straight, he rammed into a Sébastien Buemi who started fourth, ruining the career of the former Swiss F1.
After a turn under the ‘Safety Car’ regime, the fight would resume, and in those conditions, with the notice of what happened between Buemi and Lotterer, then began endless overtaking and attacks, even with situations of three cars in parallel drawing the same curve. It seemed like one of the many races of Moto3 that has housed this mythical track for motorcycling. However, everything seemed controlled for Da Costa in the first position, without De Vries and Lynnsecond and third, they would still like to go on the attack.
And it is that in such a long track, the pilots had not only to face adverse weather conditions and some rivals who were going to take advantage of all the gaps to win places. Above all, the drivers had to think about managing the energy of their batteries for the end of the race. Double challenge for everyone.
It would not take long for the Safety Car to leave again, since with 23 minutes remaining, Günther went to the wall when leaving the track, getting stuck in the wet gravel. This made the race begin again for Da Costa. It had a comfortable starter mattress that was nothing. And so, the race resumed with the Portuguese very pressured by a De Vries who did not want to give him a single meter.
The champion, with a lot of cold blood, took out the hammer again to get another advantage of more than two seconds. At that time, the Dutchman did not want the Portuguese to escape and put the attack mode, but he did it with very bad luck, when he did it at the moment when the third came out. safety car of the appointment (not counting the initial one) for an accident caused by Vandoorne and the abandonment of Setta Camara, which went to gravel. At that moment, Evans, second in world, he also said goodbye when putting his car in the pit lane.
Da Costa had everything under control
With 8 minutes to go, with more than 30% of his energy available, another sprint race began between Da Costa and De Vries, but the Portuguese had reserved his attack mode. He then used it to start marking ground, gaining a mattress second from the Mercedes driver with 7 minutes remaining. But nothing was decided, as the “Safety Car” wanted to save the excitement for last. A touch of Lotterer, who did not have his best afternoon, left Mortara went and forced the final fight to be absolutely passionate, with the fourth safety car of this Saturday Valencia race.
I warned him Da Costa before the appointment: “the last 3 or 4 laps will be spectacular”. I said it more because of the energy that many drivers could save up to that point, more than because of the numerous safety cars, which were the great animators of the test together with the rain.
With the departure of the ‘Safety Car’ and with the drop in battery imposed by race direction, the fight was going to be decided in the last two laps, with Da Costa with 5% battery and De Vries with 6%. The Portuguese played it by squeezing from the start, but that was where the great blow of the race came. The Portuguese was right. Battery management would be the key. And it was. He pushed so hard at the start of the last jump that he reached the end of the penultimate turn with 1% battery. Thus, in the middle of the straight, he had to loosen up and watch the race slip away from him in an incomprehensible way.
De Vries it happened to him in the absence of just one twist, taking the appointment for electricity management in a movie ending for him, but very cruel, too, for a Antonio Felix Da Costa who was left without a prize after having made a real race, superior at all times at the wheel of his DS
Techeetah. Safety cars ruined his career and left him empty-handed. De Vries, at the wheel of his Mercedes, he triumphed over all odds. Meanwhile, the two-time champion Vergne finished 12th.
Controversy and uncertainty
At the end of the race, Antonio Felix Da Costa He could not explain very well what had happened because he did not understand it, demanding a clearer rule on the amount of energy that the FIA takes from cars under the ‘Safety Car’ regime, which took him away from the victory: “I went from fighting to be first to realizing that it wouldn’t end. I don’t know … losing a race because of this I think it’s not the idea of Formula E, it’s a shame for the championship, since surely there were new people looking at what Formula E was. Is this what we give them? And it has happened to almost everyone ”.
For his part, Di Grassi also asked for a clearer rule or to solve these types of problems and proposed to return to races limited by number of laps and not by time.