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Vergne wins FE’s Rome E-Prix, Bird in second after big crash

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – FEBRUARY 27: Jean Eric Vergne of France driving the (25) DS TECHEETAH during practice ahead of ABB FIA Formula E Championship – Diriyah E-Prix Round 2 at Ad Diriyah on February 27, 2021 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Jean Eric Vergne won the Formula E Round 3 at Rome, with Sam Bird in second place and Mitch Evans in third after a big crash in the finishing stages of the race.

It was Oliver Rowland sitting on the third place, with André Lotterer sitting in second place and Stoffel Vandoorne on pole completing the first row.

The race started after a safety car period due to poor weather conditions on track; the green flag came out with 39 minutes to go; it was a relatively calm start with Stoffel Vandoorne leading the pack with Lotterer behind.

Sam Bird made the first move of the race, moving up to 10th place.

38 minutes and 51 seconds to go, André Lotterer collided with Stoffel Vandoorne after trying to make a late move, with the Belgian not giving up any space. He then dropped to 13th place, with Lotterer to 7th. Rowland took the lead of the race with Di Grassi behind and Vergne third.

Lotterer was then awarded a 5-second time penalty due to the incident.

Race leader Oliver Rowland was awarded a drive-through penalty with 33 laps to go for using more power than allowed. This meant Di Grassi took the lead of the race.

Stoffel Vandoorne was the first driver to take the attack more with 32 minutes to go.

A battle between Di Grassi and Vergne unfolded for the lead, both racing it hard to come out on top. It was Di Grassi who kept it, but both continued to closely race, and minimal damage was made to Vergne’s front wing.

Sergio Sette-Camara stopped on track with 30 minutes to go, bringing out a yellow flag; however, he was immediately able to continue, with racing being resumed to green flag conditions.

Rain started to come down on the track at that same time, with drivers now struggling to keep full control of the car, with many of them losing the rear end of their machines through the corners and acceleration.

28 minutes to go and Vandoorne was running 9th; the Belgian was struggling to regain positions after his incident with Lotterer, added the fact that controlling the car was harder due to the slippery conditions.

With 25 minutes to go, Sergio Sette-Camara was awarded a drive-through penalty for power overuse.

The battle for the lead continued between Di Grassi and Verge. The Brazilian had made a mistake by going wide but Vergne failed to capitalize on it. The DS-Techeetah driver then went through attack mode and came out of it 5th, now fighting his way up against Wehrlein, De Vries, and Frijns, who was not sitting second.

21 minutes to go and Robin Firjns took the attack mode, falling to third with Vergne re-gaining second place. De Vries, Wehrlein, Lotterer, and Dennis also went for the attack mode. By this stage of the race, Stoffel Vandoorne was sitting 8th, ahead of Lotterer Gunther in 9th and Lotterer in 10th.

Di Grassi then took attack mode and fell to third, with Jean-Eric Vergne now leading and Fijns in second; however, the Brazilian had an advantage with more attack mode time.

Verge made a move for the lead and took it over from De Vries; behind, Di Grassi and De Vries were fighting it out for second place, making slight contact while doing so. The Dutch driver then took his second attack more with 12 minutes to go.

10 minutes to go and Vergne was leading with Di Grassi behind and De Vries third. Bird was in the mix as well. Vandoorne was running 5th ahead of Robin Firjns and Mitch Evans, who were battling for position.

8 minutes to go and Sam Bird made a move over Nyck De Vries, taking third place with a late move. Evans, at this same time, overtook Vandoorne for 5th place.

A big crash happened in the last stages of the race, with Stoffel Vandoorne and Lucas Di Grassi retiring from the race.

This also meant the conclusion of the event, with Jean-Eric Vergne winning the race, with Sam Bird in second and Mitch Evans in third.

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