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    First podium in first race.

Stoffel Vandoorne takes third place on our debut.

After 125 years in motorsport, we opened a new chapter in the illustrious racing history of the brand last weekend at Diriyah. Entry in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship marks the dawn of a new era for us - an era that got off to a more impressive start than even the team could have hoped for. Formula E has established a reputation as a highly competitive race series, one in which there were no fewer than nine different race winners last season. Lining up on the grid are not only well-known manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Porsche and Nissan but also experienced ex-Formula 1 drivers such as Lucas di Grassi, André Lotterer, Jean-Eric Vergne, Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Pascal Wehrlein - many of whom have been regular contestants since the inaugural season five years ago. Consequently, the drivers and teams who have already acquired experience in this unique electric racing series are at a considerable advantage in terms of technology and knowledge of the special procedures and series-specific regulations. Which makes it even more difficult for newcomers to gain a foothold in this tough competitive environment. "We are conscious of our status as beginners," said Ian James in the run-up to the season opener in Saudi Arabia. "Consequently, we will be aiming to make our learning curve as steep as possible." 

And that's precisely what the team did.

Mercedes-Benz-EQ-Formula-E-Team_Diriyah_Preparation
Diriyah E Prix-Results Mercedes-Benz Formula E EQ Team

In the first qualifying session of a team history that has yet to be written, Stoffel and Nyck were able to progress through to this morning’s Super Pole, in which the Top Six qualifiers compete once again for the top positions on the grid. Stoffel posted the second-best lap time. Nyck in third place completed a strong result for the team.

And so, a Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 was on the front row and started from Row 2 as it made its race debut. Mercedes was the only team to get both of its cars into Super Pole. The two drivers also booked the top two places in the fan boost vote (VAN: 21.27%, DEV: 15.21%).

Stoffel even led the E-Prix during the final third segment of the race. As a result, he was able to post the first kilometres in the lead with the new Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01. However, with only a few minutes to go before the end of the race, Stoffel drove over the Attack Mode activation strips and lost a place when the safety car came out following an incident with Audi driver Daniel Abt. As a result, Stoffel did not benefit from his Attack Mode advantage and finished the race in third place.

For us, this was the brand’s maiden podium in their first race in the electric racing series and Stoffel’s second. His team-mate Nyck de Vries was also in the Top Three for two thirds of the race but finished sixth after 34 laps, taking his first points on his Formula E debut.

Driver FP1 FP2 Qualifying Super Pole Race
#5 S. Vandoorne

P4

1:17.693

19 Laps

P19

1:17.340

16 Laps

P1

1:15.151

3 Laps

P2

1:14.839

P3

Grid: P2

FL: 1:14.902

#17 N. de Vries

P9

1:18.426

20 Laps

P21

1:17.998

17 Laps

P1

1:15.027

3 Laps

P3

1:14.929

P6

Grid: P3

FL: 1:14.360

 

Stoffel Vandoorne.

“First race, first podium! What an incredible achievement for the whole team! We’ve had a very busy time preparing for the season, and getting everything right was not always easy. Starting the season with a podium finish is just fantastic for all of us. Congratulations to every single person who helped! Since I’ve already spent a year contesting Formula E, I too was able to do my bit and am very proud of all the people involved. Of course, the good qualifying was a great way to start our first race weekend. We may have had a small advantage in that we were in one of the groups that went out later, but we still had to deliver, and we succeeded. It was not a perfect race, but that's good. There’s still much that we can improve, but this was a better result than we expected on our debut.” 

Nyck de Vries.

“What an amazing first race day – pole in the qualifying group, third place in the Super Pole, P6 in the race and Stoffel claimed a podium – we can be well satisfied with this result. We had a slight advantage in qualifying, as we were in Groups 3 and 4, but still, I'm delighted for the team that we are able to begin our adventure in such a positive way. I'm obviously a little disappointed that I did not finish behind Stoffel in the race. It might have been possible but for the contact with Andre Lotterer and the missed opportunity with the Attack Mode. That cost me 1.8 seconds. I was unable to use Attack Mode and had to try again, but all in all, we can be satisfied with the result. We now intend to go on working hard, because this was only the beginning.”

Ian James.

“Wow, what a debut! Finishing third and sixth in our very first race is far more than we expected and a huge reward for the whole team. The race has shown that we have achieved a certain level of consistency for our cars over the last months.

But as you could see throughout, there is strong competition between all of the teams. Going at a fast pace, the field was really close from start to finish. 

Still, I am certain that we will see a very different race tomorrow. It will be a fresh start for everyone. We need to stay focused and not be distracted by today’s rather very pleasing result.”

Ian James
EQC on a street in the forrest

Enjoy Electric.

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