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De Vries victorious after energy management fiasco

Nyck De Vries wins the Valencia E-Prix after 12 cars fail to finish due to energy management confusion.

With wet conditions resulting in numerous safety car periods, energy management became critical. In each safety car period, a portion of energy is deducted from the amount a driver has availabe.

The final safety car period ended with less than a minute on the clock and, by the time the energy levels were adjusted, much of the field had run over the maximum now permitted.

Antonio Felix Da Costa, who had dominated the race up until that point, tried to manage the restart so only one lap would be remaining when he crossed the start finish line, but a mix-up in communications meant the field would have to complete an extra lap.

Da Costa slowed down to make sure he had enough energy to complete the final lap, eventually crossing the line P7.

De Vries had been on Da Costa’s tail throughout the second half of the race. He started seventh but put in some impressive moves and avoided the drama to be running second by the time the safety car was brought out for the third time.

He couldn’t challenge Da Costa on the restart but stayed close to the Techeetah driver. De Vries and Mercedes had the best energy management of the field and looked set to charge past Da Costa in the final laps, but was instead able to breeze past him as Da Costa slowed.

De Vries’ fellow podium finishers had a much more complicated route to the podium.

Nico Muller started the race with a drive through penalty and dropped to the back of the field. Progress forwards wasn’t easy for the Dragon driver, but his energy management meant he was able to take advantage of the late confusion to sweep through to P4 on track, and was then promoted to second after Oliver Rowland in P2 and Alexander Sims in P3 were disqualified for energy overuse. The finish was Dragon’s first podium since 2018.

Stoffel Vandoorne had a strong first half of the race and was climbing up through the order before a wide moment dropped him out of the top 10. He was then handed a five second time penalty for causing a collision, but Mercedes’ energy management meant he could breeze past those in power saving mode to take third.

Nick Cassidy picked up fourth ahead of Rene Rast and Robin Frijns. Da Costa held on to take seventh.

Alex Lynn, after fighting at the front of the field for much of the race, came home P8, ahead of Sam Bird and Lucas Di Grassi.

All results are provisional.

Safety cars would define the race, which actually started behind the safety car due to the wet conditions. It was brought out again after only a handful of laps when Andre Lotterer crashed into Sebastien Buemi while battling with Norman Nato.

The second caution came as Maximilian Gunther, who had been running at the sharp end of the field, was sent into the gravel at Turn 2. A collison between Sergio Sette Camara and Mitch Evans brought out the safety car again with less than 15 minutes remaining.

The final safety car was brought out again by Andre Lotterer after contact with Edoardo Mortara.

Bethonie Waring

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