Five takeaways from the Berlin E-Prix
May 30, 2019 - 3min read
Ten races down, and only three to go before the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship is wrapped up. Who will be crowned Champion? In what has been a highly unpredictable season, Berlin certainly didn’t disappoint with plenty of drama and breath-taking driving on display.
1. Di Grassi makes it a home win for Audi
Lucas di Grassi’s victory marked Audi’s 12th win and 40th podium in Formula E, and was secured on home turf. Di Grassi’s teammate Daniel Abt also secured points having finished sixth.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler currently stands second in the team standings on 163 points, behind DS Techeetah (188 points). BMW i Andretti Motorsport is currently sixth on 106 points.
Di Grassi seized the lead from pole-sitter Sébastien Buemi on lap three and didn’t look back. Victory was all the sweeter for the Brazilian driver having previously finished second and third in the German city.
2. Vergne still on top
Di Grassi’s victory saw him take second place in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of DS Techeetah’s André Lotterer who had a day to forget. However, Lotterer’s team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne put in a cool performance, finishing third to maintain his position at the top of the leaderboard.
Vergne (102 points) leads Di Grassi (96 points) by six points. He struck a relaxed tone in comments to the media after the race noting “I had lots of confidence in the car today. I was just enjoying myself … I love to be in this mood in these conditions.”
3. Buemi misses out on Berlin treble
Nissan e.dams’ Sébastien Buemi is undoubtedly one of the stars of Formula E. The Swiss driver has a total of 12 wins and 22 podiums in his Formula E career, including victories in Berlin in 2016 and 2017.
However, despite starting on pole this year, Buemi was unable to recover when he was passed by Di Grassi and was forced to settle for second. He reflected matter-of-factly on his driving performance and that of the Nissan e.dams car after the race.
"I'm satisfied because I think we're not quick enough in the race to aim for better. I really feel like P3 for the team in the Championship is possible,” said Buemi in comments published on the ABB Formula E official website.
4. Sims, best of Brits
BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver Alexander Sims put in a solid performance, finishing in seventh place ahead of Oliver Rowland and Sam Bird, in eighth and ninth respectively. The result marked an uptick in Sims’ fortunes after a series of unfortunate race incidents and technical issues in recent rounds.
“I felt really focused this week and it was great to finally get the chance to string a whole race together incident free,” Sims reflected on Twitter.
Post-race he commented: “It was a really positive weekend for me and the team. Practice went well and we were able to translate this into qualifying, getting through to Super Pole. I feel we executed the race well, making the most of energy saving opportunities. Once I got past Rowland I had a clear track and was set to push on but the Full Course Yellow levelled the field and gave everyone enough energy to get to the end, which was a shame as we could have been fighting for a podium.
“I’m really pleased to have had a positive result and scored points – including the first double points score for BMW. It was a nice reward for all the hard work the team has been putting in behind the scenes. So many things can happen in Formula E and fortunes can change so quickly. It’s great to get a positive result and I’m confident that we can keep putting ourselves in a good position.”
Sims stands in 16th place in the Drivers’ Championship on 24 points, with Rowland leading the British Formula E contingent in ninth place with 63 points.
5. One race left in Europe before NYC finale
Drivers and their teams have nearly a month to prepare before Formula E meets again for the final European leg of the 2018-19 Championship in Bern, Switzerland. After that, it’s off to the Big Apple, New York City, for the two final races of the season.
The only two drivers to have won on two separate occasions this season (Vergne, Di Grassi) currently stand at the top of the table. But three further drivers are poised within striking distance, looking to take advantage of any mistakes.
This season has been a hard one to call, so expect more drama and excitement before it’s all over!
Formula E returns to action on Saturday 22nd June in Bern – tune in online via the BBC website or Red Button, or on the Formula E YouTube channel.
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