Vandoorne wins Rome thriller

Stoffel Vandoorne won his first race of the season on the streets of Rome following a frantic race climatising in a one lap shootout for the win.

Pole sitter Nick Cassidy led the start once the safety car came in, however spun out of the lead at the first braking zone due to a braking fault, handing the lead to fellow rookie Norman Nato.

Cassidy, now down in 12th, started to carve back through the field, reaching as high as seventh, until he was taken out by Oliver Rowland who had just taken Attack Mode. Rowland was given a 10-second penalty at the end of the race for the incident.

Nato then started to fall back, with both Pascal Wehrlein and Vandoorne getting past the rookie into the top two positions. Nato would lose out again during the Attack Mode activation, falling down to sixth when the Full Course Yellow was brought out for an incident involving Sebastien Buemi and Lucas Di Grassi.

Buemi had been in Attack Mode when trying to make a move on his former championship rival, both misjudged and Buemi spun Di Grassi into the wall and out of the race. Di Grassi was very vocal on radio claiming that Buemi deserved a penalty for it, but none was given.

Alexander Sims, who was running third under Full Course Yellow, made a very opportunistic move as we returned to green flag racing, Sims snuck past Wehrlein who was slow to respond to the green flag. Vandoorne then went off into the distance and into an unbeatable lead.

The Venturi’s had started to find pace again as Nato overtook Wehrlein for third and Mortara passed Guenther for fifth, however their charge was halted by Rene Rast crashing at the final corner and parking up at Turn 1 and the safety car was deployed once again.

Unlike yesterday however, the race was able to resume for one frantic final lap, where we saw an incident further where Nyck De Vries lost braking power and slammed into Sam Bird and Rowland. Rowland was able to escape, but the other were out on the spot.

Behind Vandoorne, Alexander Sims retained second place for Mahindra, Norman Nato crossed the line in third, but was later disqualified for energy overuse promoting Pascal Wehrlein into third for his and Porsche’s first podium of the season.

That put his team-mate Edoardo Mortara into fourth after he held onto a massive last-lap slide, with BMW Andretti racer Maximilian Gunther climbing to fifth.

Mitch Evans added a sixth to his third place on Saturday as Antonio Felix da Costa recovered superbly with strong passing to climb from 15th to seventh.

Buemi looked vulnerable as he was repeatedly passed but the late drama returned him eighth ahead of a sound ninth for Tom Blomqvist, as Nico Muller rounded out the top 10.

Saturday victor Jean-Eric Vergne was stymied by qualifying only 21st but brought home 11th place.

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