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Vandoorne fastest as Mercedes leads testing Day 2

Mercedes power dominated the second day of testing in Valencia, as Stoffel Vandoorne topped the times and team-mate Nyck de Vries won the simulation “race”.

As with the first day of testing ahead of Formula E’s Season 8, the series gave drivers a chance to test a new format being introduced this year.

For the 2021-22 season, extra time will be added onto the end of any race impacted by a safety car or caution period.

For the test, the series ran a full race duration, punctuated by a safety car period that extended the race by six minutes and 45 seconds.

De Vries and Vandoorne spent most of the race battling at the front of the field. The reigning champion picked up the lead on the penultimate lap before Edoardo Mortara snatched second from Vandoorne.

Vandoorne finished third ahead of Lucas Di Grassi in the second Venturi, making it an all-Mercedes top four.

Nissan duo Sebastien Buemi and Maximilian Guenther took sixth and seventh ahead of Jake Dennis.

The “race” started with drama as the Jaguar drivers of Sam Bird and Mitch Evans couldn’t get off the line. The rest of the field were able to avoid the stationary cars and the Jaguars eventually got going after a reset – the car software having retained limits used for powertrain testing.

Bird would eventually climb up to P9 with Evans finishing 11th behind Pascal Wehrlein.

In free running, Vandoorne ended the day fastest overall, setting a new lap record at the circuit in the process.

Vandoorne spent much of the afternoon session at the top of the times, though had to reclaim the top spot multiple times as others found improvements. He finished the day with a 1m26.045s time, just narrowly edging out Mortara who again made it a Mercedes powered 1-2.

Dennis, who had briefly topped the times in the closing stages of the day, took third quickest ahead of de Vries, Wehrlein, and Evans.

Di Grassi led the Mahindra duo of Oliver Roland and Alexander Sims, while Andre Lotterer completed the top 10.

Once again track limits came into play, with a number of drivers having to take penalties. Dennis and NIO 333’s Dan Ticktum were both handed five minute penalties, while Antonio Giovinazzi received a 15-minute reprimand as he struggled with braking in the Dragon Formula E car.

The only red flag of the day came from Jean-Eric Vergne who had a brief spin. He was able to get going again, but the session was paused so marshals could clear gravel from the track. He ended the day second slowest, just ahead of Alice Powell, who was filling in for Robin Frijns in the Virgin.

Vergne’s team-mate Antonio Felix Da Costa was fastest in the short morning session after the race simulation, but didn’t set a representative lap time in the afternoon session and ended the day P16.

Bethonie Waring

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