Mitch Evans puts his championship challenge back on track with victory in the first Rome Eprix of the weekend.
The Jaguar driver was able to climb up from ninth on the grid to snatch victory from Robin Frijns and Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vandoorne and Frijns spent most of the race swapping positions at the top of the order. Vandoorne held onto the lead in the opening laps, but an early safety car put Frijns right on his tail.
Frijns was able to find a way past Vandoorne with 29 minutes left on the clock and retained the position through the first set of Attack Mode activations. Vandoorne was able to come back with his second Attack Mode and briefly reclaimed the lead, only for Frijns to come back and Vandoorne fall into a battle with those behind him.
Meanwhile, Eevans had slowly been carving his way up through the order. The Jaguar driver’s energy management left him with more useable energy than those around him for most of the race and meant he could attack when opportunities arose.
After the oening lap he had climbed up to sixth and made further progress over the second half of the race. He joined the back of the battle for P3, with Nyck de Vries holding of Jean-Eric Vergne, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Jake Dennis. It didn’t take long for Evans to put the pressure on Dennis, forcing Dennis into a mistake that resulted in contact with Da Costa. He was able to get up passed the duo, then picked off Vergne and de Vries to move into third.
Using attack mode, Evans moved past Vandoorne and Evans and left the two long time race leaders battling among themselves.
In the final five minutes of the race, Evans gradually extended the gap to over five seconds to Frijns. Frijns also had a comfortable gap back to Vendoorne, who was forced to defend against Vergne later on but managed to retain the position.
Evans’ Jaguar team-mate had a much more eventful race. Sam Bird made contact on the opening lap while battling in the midfield, resulting in bodywork damage. He slowly climbed u through the order and by the end of the race had managed to make it up to P5 and was challenging Vergne late on.
Bird wasn’t the only driver in drama on the opening lap. Contact with Eduardo Mortara sent Oliver Rowland into a spin. Rowland stopped sideways across the track, holding up five other drivers behind them. In the pile up, Maximilian Guenther made contact with team-mate Sebastien Buemi and damaged the front of his car. Guenther was able to continue but the damage caused him to hit the barriers two corners later, bringing out the safety car.
Rowland would later retire in the pits.
Nyck de Vries was the third retirement of the day. After a strong performance in the first half of the race, de Vries began to show signs of struggling and dropped through the order. He would later come into the pits where he ended the race.
Da Costa took the chequered flag sixth ahead of Mortara, who received a five second time penalty for the contact with Rowland early on.
Pascal Wehrlein, Nick Cassidy, and Andre Lotterer completed the top 10.