Formula E: Evans & Bird celebrate Jaguar one-two on Berlin Saturday, Max Günther on podium
Mitch Evans and Sam Bird secured a historic one-two for Jaguar in Saturday's Formula E race in Berlin. At the end of an extremely eventful race, local hero Max Günther completed the podium to score his first points of the season for Maserati in front of his home crowd. Sebastien Buemi lost third place at the last moment and finished ahead of his Envision teammate Nick Cassidy. World Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche) finished sixth.
Dan Ticktum got off to a great start and drove from 4th place on the grid to the lead of the field. Stoffel Vandoorne also got away very well, but appeard to brake unusually early - supposedly to avoid taking the lead - and dropped to 4th. Behind Ticktum, pole-sitter Sebastien Buemi and Sam Bird completed the first lap in 2nd and 3rd place. Max Günther made a big jump from eighth to fifth.
On Lap 3, a number of drivers were already passing through the attack zone (unusually early), with Ticktum, Buemi and Vandoorne all getting their extra power for a minute and dropping back accordingly. Bird led briefly as a result, but responded - as did Günther - just one lap later. Some drivers even went for their second attack mode afterwards to do their "duty". The first notable overtaking maneuver on track was made by Vandoorne against Günther.
On lap 7, Jake Dennis overtook Günther at the end of the start and finish straight to take over 5th place, while Ticktum continued to lead the race ahead of Buemi and Bird, who were supposedly concentrating on saving energy in the slipstream of the Nio 333. On lap 10, Bird retook the lead by leavin Ticktum behind in turn 1. As in Sao Paulo, one got the clear impression that no one wanted to lead the race to save energy.
Accident between Rast & Sette Camara brings safety car to the scene
Sergio Sette Camara misjudged his braking spot heading into turn 10 and crashed into the rear of Günther, who had lost places shortly before. A little later, Sette Camara also clashed with Rene Rast in turn 1. The German drove into Sette Camara's rear and spun him. Both dropped to the back of the field with damaged cars. Rast later received a 5-second time penalty for the incident. Due to the numerous pieces of debris on the track, race control ordered the Safety Car onto the course on lap 13. Dennis was in the lead at this point - even with an energy advantage - but had only used one of his two attack modes.
After 15 laps, the race continued at race pace. The order of the top five: Dennis, Mortara, Buemi, Vandoorne and Ticktum. Mortara and Ticktum, however, had already used significantly more energy than their opponents. Günther was running in 9th position at this time ahead of his compatriot Pascal Wehrlein, who had already efficiently worked his way up the field. Dennis activated his second attack mode and dropped back. Mortara then took the lead ahead of Mitch Evans. The Jaguar driver, however, had not yet activated one of his attack modes.
There were so many overtaking maneuvers that even an expert would lose track of all of them. Then Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer clashed in the final corner, resulting in a spin by the Frenchman. Lotterer later received a 5-second time penalty. A little later, Nick Cassidy collided with Ticktum, who took damage to the front wing.
Then, however, things really clanged: Vandoorne worked his way past Ticktum in turn 3, who appeared unsighted by the Belgian and pushed him into the wall. The world champion's DS took heavy damage to the front and could only be parked in the emergency exit. Ticktum also had to retire from the race. Jake Hughes and Norman Nato hit the cars involved in the accident as well, with the McLaren driver being dropped out in the process. For the second time, the safety car came onto the track.
Dennis destroys own & Felix da Costa's race
Cassidy pitted during the race neutralisation to have his Envision repaired and dropped to the rear of the field. Nico Müller, meanwhile, had worked his way up to 9th place. The field resumed the race on lap 24. Evans was leading at this time ahead of Buemi and the two Maseratis of Günther and Mortara. However, the latter then activated his second attack mode and slipped to 3rd place. Günther attacked Buemi in turn 1 and took the lead. A little later, the two Jaguars of Evans and Bird passed the German again - lively interchanges in Tempelhof.
Dennis had saved quite a bit of energy during this phase and had moved up to position 6. Then he oriented himself forward again and overtook Mortara first, then Günther as well. After 30 of 40 scheduled laps Buemi was leading the race ahead of the two factory Jaguars. Antonio Felix da Costa, meanwhile, had quietly worked his way up to fifth place in his Porsche but had to go through the attack zone again. However, this was not to happen.
On lap 31, Dennis made a serious mistake in turn 6, sliding between several cars and sideways into the TecPro barrier. Fortunately for him, he only lost a few places and was able to continue. However, his chance of victory was gone. The sliding Andretti, however, damaged the front of Felix da Costa's Porsche. The Portuguese had to pit and retire from the race. Bird now led ahead of Buemi, Evans and Günther. Behind them followed the two Germans Wehrlein and Lotterer.
Thrilling final stage goes to Jaguar
Then, for the first time in the race, things calmed down at least a bit, although the lead continued to change lively. Formula E was already celebrating itself at this point for a new record: there had never been eight different drivers in first place in a race before. Energy-wise, Evans was the best of the leaders - but the differences were marginal. Race control announced that the race would be extended by three additional laps because of the two safety car periods.
Four laps from the end, fans saw a driver seriously defend the lead for the first time, with Buemi initially holding his own against Evans. However, the New Zealander passed the Swiss in turn 1 and positioned himself for the win. It looked as if the drivers would now no longer need to conserve energy - flatout racing in the closing stages!
Evans was able to pull away slightly in the final laps and drove to his second consecutive victory. Buemi in 2nd place, on the other hand, was forced to concentrate on the drivers behind him and defend against Bird. Then Bird dared to attack in turn 6 and shot past Buemi - a great maneuver by the Brit. Günther also attacked Buemi a few corners before the end and took third place in his home race. Jaguar, on the other hand, celebrated a well-deserved 1-2 victory in Berlin.
Wehrlein extends world championship lead
In the drivers' standings, Pascal Wehrlein extended his lead once again. The runner-up is no longer Jake Dennis, but Nick Cassidy, who moved up from last place to finish 5th in the race. The top two are separated by 23 points. Mitch Evans climbed to fourth place in the world championship and is now only just behind Jean-Eric Vergne.
In the Teams' World Championship, however, Porsche's lead melted to 14 points. Envision remains second ahead of its own factory team, Jaguar TCS Racing. Maserati took a big step forward and is "only" eighth overall, passing Nio 333 and Nissan. ABT Cupra is still without points. The next race is already on Sunday - same time, same place.