Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Berlin E-Prix: Mitch Evans Claims Back-to-Back Wins in Formula E Thriller

Mitch Evans is the man of the moment, with the New Zealander having claimed a famous victory at the Berlin E-Prix, making it back-to-back wins for him. To add to the celebrations, Jaguar TCS Racing claimed the first 1-2 in their history, since they joined the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Sam Bird claimed second with Maximilian Günther in third, whilst championship leader finished Pascal Wehrlein finished sixth.

Attack Mode Mayhem Dominates Opening Laps

As the first race of the weekend at the packed-out Tempelhof Street Circuit approached its start, it was Sébastian Buemi on pole with Bird alongside him, whilst championship leader Wehrlein was down in fifteenth and with significant work to do.

As the lights went out, it was Dan Ticktum who made an unbelievable start and went from fourth to first at the opening corner, whilst Stoffel Vandoorne backed out of an opening corner overtake on Buemi, with the drivers knowing that leading the race was not the correct strategy. Ticktum seemingly couldn’t care, though, with the Briton have made NIO 333 Racing fans smile across the globe.

The order at the front suddenly shuffled on Lap Three, though, as Ticktum and Buemi both activated their first Attack Mode, elevating Bird into the lead. Ticktum and Buemi returned to first and second on Lap Four, though, as Bird activated his first Attack Mode. It became clear that the drivers all wanted to get rid of their Attack Modes as quickly as possible, due to how challenging energy efficiency was set to be.

Ticktum and Buemi both activated their second and final Attack Mode on Lap Five, elevating Bird back into the lead. Behind Bird was Jake Dennis, who was yet to activate either of his Attack Modes. To no surprise, Bird activated his second Attack Mode on Lap Six, whilst Dennis activated his first. It meant that after the bizarre opening Attack Mode surge, Ticktum and Buemi remained in first and second, with Bird in third.

Battle to Not Lead Causes Carnage

There was action throughout the field, with Edoardo Mortara having been a man on a mission. The Swiss driver had gotten himself into the lead by Lap Eleven, despite having started eleventh! Bird tumbled from first to seventh after going incredibly wide at Turn Six, with carnage having taken place behind. After a chaotic few laps, the Safety Car was needed due to significant damage across the circuit, after Sérgio Sette Câmara hit Maximilian Günther.

The Brazilian came from so far back at the last corner and hit the German driver, breaking his front wing in the process. Sette Câmara remained on the racing line and was actually hit himself by René Rast moments later, dropping both to the back of the field. Whilst Sette Câmara wasn’t at fault for the second incident, there will be questions asked as to why he remained on track with a broken front wing underneath the front of his car.

The Safety Car peeled back into the pits at the end of Lap Fourteen, with Dennis having been in the lead from Mortara and Buemi. Wehrlein was in tenth. Vandoorne overtook Ticktum at Turn Six moving him into fourth, with Evans having followed the Belgian driver past. Bird also overtook Ticktum on the same lap, with the NIO driver having fallen from fourth to seventh in the space of three corners.

Lap Sixteen saw Dennis activate his second Attack Mode, dropping him from first to fifth. With his additional power, though, he got himself into second down the start/finish straight, whilst Vandoorne tumbled to seventh. By Lap Nineteen Vandoorne was suddenly in eleventh, a position which saw him heavily hit the wall on Lap Twenty-One, with the field having simply been too close together.

Dennis Takes Da Costa Out

A second Safety Car was needed on Lap Twenty-One after Ticktum left Vandoorne with no room at Turn Three, sending the Belgian straight into the barrier. It was a big impact for both drivers, with the pair having also been hit from behind after hitting the wall. Both retired from the race whilst Nick Cassidy entered the pits for a front wing change. Jake Hughes also entered the pits to retire from the race.

The race restarted on Lap Twenty-Three, with Evans having found himself in the lead from buemi and Günther. Evans immediately lost the lead, though, after activating his second Attack Mode. It means Buemi led from Günther, for about thirty-seconds! Günther overtook Buemi at the opening corner on Lap Twenty-Four, whilst the Swiss driver fell behind both Jaguar drivers a lap later.

Evans and Bird moved into first and second on Lap Twenty-Six, with the Jaguar duo having boasted excellent energy. It became clear that the Jaguar pair were going to try and stretch the field by working together, something Buemi and Dennis quickly became aware of. Buemi moved up to third whilst Dennis moved up to fourth, with Maserati MSG Racing having fallen to fifth and sixth.

The Maserati duo and António Félix da Costa suddenly all overtook Dennis, who fell from fourth to seventh, whilst title rival Wehrlein was in eighth. Dennis knew he had to get closer to the front and quickly got himself back into sixth, whilst at the front Buemi claimed the lead from Bird and Evans. There was huge drama on Lap Thirty-Two, though, as Dennis had a high-speed slide at Turn Six after losing the rear, with him having tagged Da Costa in doing so. It resulted in both of them immediately retiring.

Evans Times it to Perfection

Whilst all the chaos was going on, Wehrlein was likely smiling in his helmet, with the championship leader having found himself in fifth, whilst his three nearest title rivals were outside the points or out of the race. Dennis’ and Da Costa’s collision seemingly calmed the race down somewhat, with Buemi having cleanly overtaken Bird for the race lead on Lap Thirty-Six.

A four-car breakaway suddenly formed at the front as the race entered its final six laps, with Buemi having led from Bird, Evans and Günther. The few laps of calmness lasted quite literally a few laps, with Evans having decided to overtake Bird and Buemi in two consecutive corners, promoting him into the lead. The New Zealander decided to try and break away from the pack, with Evans boasting the best energy percentage in the field.

Evans led comfortably as the incredible race entered its final lap, with the fight having been very tight behind for second. Bird pulled off an exceptional move, though, to overtake Buemi for second at Turn Six, whilst Günther overtook Buemi at the final corner, to the agony of the Swiss driver.

There was no stopping Evans from claiming back-to-back wins, though, as Jaguar claimed their first ever 1-2 finish, to the jubilation of the Coventry-based team. Behind Evans and Bird, Günther claimed third with Buemi in fourth, whilst Cassidy remarkably recovered to fifth, despite having pitted mid-race. Wehrlein claimed sixth in what was a superb recovery drive. It means he does retain the championship lead, in what was a record-breaking Formula E race with twenty-three changes for the lead.

Wehrlein leads the championship by twenty-three points now from Cassidy, with Dennis having tumbled to fifth. In the Constructors’, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team remain in the lead from Envision Racing but now by twenty-four points. To top it all off, André Lotterer claimed the bonus Fastest Lap point.

To add to the excitement, another race will take place on Sunday!

Berlin E-Prix Round 7: Provisional Race Results

1 9 Mitch Evans NZL Jaguar TCS Racing 55:10.391
2 10 Sam Bird GBR Jaguar TCS Racing +1.850
3 7 Maximilian Günther DEU Maserati MSG Racing +2.738
4 16 Sébastian Buemi CHE Envision Racing +2.849
5 37 Nick Cassidy NZL Envision Racing +4.787
6 94 Pascal Wehrlein DEU TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team +9.111
7 25 Jean-Éric Vergne FRA DS Penske +9.191
8 36 André Lotterer DEU Avalanche Andretti Formula E +9.504
9 48 Edoardo Mortara CHE Maserati MSG Racing +10.159
10 8 Oliver Rowland GBR Mahindra Racing +10.308
11 11 Lucas di Grassi BRZ Mahindra Racing +19.449
12 23 Sacha Fenestraz FRA Nissan Formula E Team +21.549
13 17 Norman Nato FRA Nissan Formula E Team +24.561
14 4 Robin Frijns NLD ABT CUPRA Formula E Team +25.627
15 51 Nico Müller CHE ABT CUPRA Formula E Team +27.580
16 3 Sérgio Sette Câmara BRZ NIO 333 Racing +34.847
17 58 René Rast DEU NEOM McLaren Formula E Team + 1 Lap
18 27 Jake Dennis GBR Avalanche Andretti Formula E + 5 Laps
19 13 António Félix da Costa PRT TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team DNF
20 33 Dan Ticktum GBR NIO 333 Racing DNF
21 1 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL DS Penske DNF
22 5 Jake Hughes GBR NEOM McLaren Formula E Team DNF