Formula E has resumed its 2019/20 season after a lengthy five month break, but championship leader Antonio Felix da Costa proved that he’s still the man to beat as he secured a dominant win at the first of six races in Berlin. The DS Techeetah driver bagged the maximum 30-points haul after setting the fastest time in group qualifying, securing pole position, taking a lights-to-flag victory and setting the fastest lap – the first time in Formula E history that a driver has pulled off a clean sweep.
- Da Costa wins first Berlin E-Prix to extend championship lead
- Vergne drops from 2nd to 20th
- Mahindra Racing score 10 points with d’Ambrosio’s 5th place result
Da Costa takes victory while Vergne struggles
DS Techeetah enjoyed a strong race start, with both da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne pulling away out at front. The pair maintained their advantage even after the first safety car period, which was triggered by Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns crashing into the wall after attempting to pass BMW’s Max Gunther.
Setting his sights on the race lead, Vergne decided to activate his higher power Attack Mode to overtake his team mate. It ended up being a futile move when Felipe Massa crashed at Turn 6, triggering a full-course yellow that effectively neutralised the race.
From there on, Vergne’s race started unraveling as he spiraled down the order. This promoted Sam Bird and Andre Lotterer to 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
But just when it seemed like da Costa would be sailing to an easy victory, he started running low on energy with a lap yet to go. The Portuguese driver ultimately held on to fly past the finish line with a perfectly judged 0.0 percent of his useable energy remaining. The last lap also saw Lotterer pass Bird to secure 2nd place, while Vergne finished all the way down in 20th place.
Da Costa now leads the championship by 41 points from Jaguar driver Mitch Evans. Further helping da Costa’s case was the fact that Evans suffered a spin early on in the race after making contact with Guenther and could only salvage a 13th place finish.
“Everyone’s assuming I have to win the title but I take that pressure well,” said da Costa after the race. “It means it’s an important thing and yes, I want to win it, but there’s still a really long way to go.
5th place for Mahindra Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio
Ahead of the race, Mahindra Racing’s Team Principal Dilbagh Gill revealed that the team has identified and worked on fundamental problems on the M6Electro. And the team secured a fairly strong result at the first Berlin E-Prix to back that claim.
Jerome d’Ambrosio finished just behind Nyck de Vries in 5th place to secure 10 crucial points for Mahindra. With this, the Indian team is now just seven points behind Venturi Racing in the overall standings, in 10th place (out of 12 teams).
Alex Lynn could only manage a 12th place result in what was his first outing for Mahindra Racing. But the British driver will have a handful of opportunities to improve on his result with five more races to go in Berlin.
Stoffel Vandoorne, Sebastien Buemi, Lucai di Grassi, Alexander Sims and Rene Rast (who joined Audi following’s Daniel Abt’s sim racing controversy) rounded up the top ten.
Guenther disqualified from Berlin E-Prix
Guenther initially finished the race in 8th place but was disqualified for exceeding the amount of usable energy available. As a result, he’s dropped to 5th place in the overall drivers’ championship.
The next race at Berlin will be held tonight (10:30pm IST) and will follow the same reverse layout as the first race. You can head here for the complete schedule of the 2019/20 Formula E finale.
Berlin E-Prix (Round 6) results
Antonio Felix da Costa
Nyck de Vries
Lucas di Grassi
Sergio Sette Camara