COUGHTON’S Alexander Sims admits he always felt in control after defying the odds to claim his maiden podium for Mahindra Racing in Sunday’s ABB FIA Formula E World Championship E-Prix in Rome.
The 33-year-old launched a stunning comeback to recover from a forced retirement in the opening round of the weekend on Saturday, to place second in Sunday’s enthralling race in the Italian capital and climb to ninth in the drivers’ rankings.
In what proved both Sims’ first podium appearance of the campaign, and his first-ever since signing for Mahindra Racing, there was an understandable feeling of redemption come Sunday evening after the dust had settled on the fourth round of the Championship.
“The weekend was really split into two halves, Saturday it was pretty difficult in general; it felt like we could have got something from the race,” he said.
“But by being taken out on lap one, it was over before it had begun.
“Sunday we did good work in practice and the car was brilliant in group qualifying – we know the car this season is strong in the race and very efficient.
“We had genuinely good pace, there was an exciting overtake on Pascal [Wehrlein] on the full-course yellow restart and, after that, it was just ticking the laps down.”
A starting position of 15th is how Sims went into the third round of the Championship, one which lasted only two laps before a rear collision forced the end of his race.
The Mahindra man proved one of eight drivers to not finish the tumultuous round, but was undeterred in his quest for points and finished sixth in qualifying to earn a prime spot for round four.
With the final race of the weekend hit by damp conditions and the sight of the safety car for the first few laps, Sims was forced to bide his time and quickly went about his business when speed restrictions were lifted – rising a place into fifth at the expense of pole-sitter Nick Cassidy.
From there, he came into his element, finding himself in third place by the seventh lap and, after a full-course yellow flag was displayed, eventually second when overtaking Wehrlein upon the restart.
And while he was unable to dislodge Stoffel Vandoorne from first position, the second-place finish was enough to score Mahindra Racing’s best result of the 2021 season – the team now seventh in the teams’ rankings.
Sims will next feature in the fifth and sixth rounds of the Championship, taking place in Valencia, Spain on the weekend of 24 and 25 April.