Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Berlin E-Prix: Maximilian Günther Tops FP2 at Home

Maximilian Günther made a strong start to the first race day of the weekend at the Berlin E-Prix, with the Maserati MSG Racing driver having topped Free Practice Two after setting the quickest time of the weekend so far, ahead of qualifying for the seventh round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

As the sun rose to get the first race day of the weekend at the Tempelhof Airport Circuit underway, it was René Rast who led the field out at his home E-Prix, with the drivers having just thirty minutes of running until qualifying. It was the worst possible start to FP2 for Oliver Rowland, with the Mahindra Racing driver having locked-up at the opening corner, before hitting the barrier on the outside of the corner.

It adds to what’s been a challenging season for Rowland, with his Turn One incident potentially being caused by a technical fault rather than a driver error. In order to recover Rowland’s car, the red flag was flown just six minutes into the session. Dan Ticktum topped the session early on prior to the red flag being flown, with the Briton having set a 1:06.829, which was still a second slower than Stoffel Vandoorne‘s pacesetting time from Friday evening.

Following a six-minute red flag period, the session finally restarted with just over seventeen minutes remaining. Times immediately started to tumble, with Sébastian Buemi having hit the front after setting a low 1:06s lap. It was then announced that the time lost during the red flag would be reapplied to the session, meaning the drivers lost no time at all.

As the session moved into the final twenty minutes once the lost time had been reapplied, Buemi set the quickest lap of the weekend so far, after posting a 1:05.686. A couple minutes later, Buemi’s time was beaten by Jean-Éric Vergne, who posted a strong 1:05.600 to go 0.086s faster than the Envision Racing driver. Vergne’s time at the tip was short-lived, as Günther hit the front at his home race, after dipping into the low 1:05s.

Günther remained as the fastest driver as the session moved into its final ten minutes, with the German having led from Vergne and Vandoorne. Günther’s 1:05.444 was clearly a very strong time, as he remained at the top of the timesheets as the session entered its final four minutes. There was a brief yellow flag with three minutes remaining after Robin Frijns span for the second time this Berlin, this time at the opening corner.

At the front and António Félix da Costa set a strong time to move into third, separating the DS Penske drivers. Nick Cassidy, though, jumped up into second place as the chequered flag was flown; however, it wasn’t enough to pip Günther, who went even faster on his final lap. So, it was Günther who topped FP2 thanks to a 1:05.301, with the German having topped the session from Cassidy and Vergne. Very few improvements were made in the final minute as Mitch Evans pulled to the side of the circuit, meaning Jaguar TCS Racing may have some work to do ahead of qualifying in just under two hours.

Full Results to Follow…