De Vries explains first-to-10th slump in second Diriyah FE race

The Mercedes driver scorched to pole with a flurry of quick laps during the qualifying heats, although admitted to being disappointed with his run in the final – despite beating Edoardo Mortara by 0.005s.

Having led early on in the race, de Vries managed to weather any storms during the first phase of attack mode, staying in the lead.

But Lucas di Grassi – then running fourth – forced the other front-runners’ hands by taking his second activation relatively early, undercutting teammate Mortara and Robin Frijns, and brusquely made his way past de Vries at Turn 18.

De Vries, resisting the urge to spend his final attack mode activation until a few laps later, then dropped to 10th by the end of the race, trickling down the order after a rough tackle from Jean-Eric Vergne and eventually coming to rest at the bottom end of the points.

“In summary, we weren’t quick enough,” reflected de Vries.

“We might have been a little late in activating attack mode, which might also have been a factor in us dropping back a bit. It’s tough when you’re down on pace.”

“On top of that, after contact [with Vergne] I lost four of five positions which was just too bad.

“In the end, though, it was down to us as I believe we simply weren’t fast enough [on Saturday].

“It all goes to prove that once again that things can still go wrong, even if you’ve had a strong weekend up until that point.

“The window is very narrow and you can soon lose out as a result.”

Nyck de Vries, Mercedes-Benz EQ

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

De Vries’ teammate Stoffel Vandoorne was among the cars to overtake the Dutchman after contact with Vergne, recovering to seventh after getting dumped out of the group qualifying stage.

Mercedes team principal Ian James agreed that the team struggled to replicate its qualifying pace, feeling that the second Diriyah event brought “mixed emotions” for the team.

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“Today has been a day of mixed emotion, starting off with good pace in qualifying. [But] the race pace wasn’t at the required level.

“This left us exposed and struggling to defend. We’ll spend time analysing the data and ensuring that we improve going forwards.”

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