Majestic Mortara pulls off stunning overtake to take second place in Diriyah opener

At the end of the 2021 season opening FIA Formula E World Championship round in Ad Diriyah, the record books will show that Mercedes-EQ driver Nyck de Vries dominated every single session, culminating in a deserved victory.

Yet that’s only to tell half the tale of an intriguing opening race that saw a late strategic battle produce one of the great overtakes in the short history of Formula E, and perhaps in motorsport in general.

Edoardo Mortara Venturi Racing, 2nd position, arrives in Parc Ferme

In this most unpredictable and fascinating motorsport series, where battery management is of paramount importance, Edoardo Mortara dropped from fourth place to fifth after utilising his first obligatory Attack Mode and running wide.

But the ROKiT Venturi Racing driver certainly had the bit between his teeth, and utilising the extra 35 kW of power, the Swiss racer pulled off a quite remarkable move, threading the needle between Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and the Porsche of Pascal Wehrlein to rocket back to third place.

The race was far from over.  And when Sam Bird and Alex Lynn collided, quickly followed by Maximilian Guenther clipping the wall, another Safety Car bunched up the field. It left Mortara still second but losing a place to Rene Rast after running wide with his final Attack Mode.

It mattered not, Rast having little energy to fight back with to defend the place and Mortara repassing for position and second on the podium after a sensational season opener.

“I am a dad. I’m 34, I don’t have to do these moves,” said Mortara afterward. “My heart is just stopping. I had Wehrlein in front of me just moving at the last minute and I was quite surprised where he moved, so I had to go on the left and managed to out break both of them. I think it was the key moment for my race to pull a little gap.

“Then I had to survive a little bit the chaos, you know, so really happy with this second place. I really hope we will have more podiums. Great results like this one. So we will keep on fighting.”

“What a fantastic way to start Season 7,” added Sisie Wolff, Team Principal. “I’m incredibly proud of the team for what we’ve managed to achieve today. Edo drove a brilliant race – his overtake on Mitch [Evans] and Pascal [Wehrlein] will go down in the Formula E history books. We know that the key to success in Formula E is consistency, so our focus now switches to the next race tomorrow where the clear goal is more points.”

Fraser Masefield

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.