Formula E: Nick Cassidy wins Berlin race on Sunday, protest action delays start
Nick Cassidy has won Sunday's Formula E race in Berlin. In another entertaining race, the Envision driver prevailed against Jake Dennis (Andretti) and Jean-Eric Vergne (DS). Previous day's winner Mitch Evans narrowly missed the podium in fourth place. Best German was impressive catch-up Max Günther in 6th place - just ahead of his compatriot Pascal Wehrlein in the Porsche. Before the race, there had been a protest action of the "Last Generation" on the start and finish straight, which caused delays.
The first upset occurred even before the start: activists boarded the starting grid shortly before the scheduled start time at 15:04. Several stewards had to intervene - a first in Formula E. Behind the pit lane, the demonstrators were later taken away, as our video below shows. Then, with a delay of about six minutes, the sporting action got underway.
++ Car racing disrupted ++- Last Generation (@RisingLastGen) April 23, 2023
?‼️Wir are at the racetrack of the @eFORMELde to sound the alarm.
It's time to get off the gas. Because we are on the highway to climate hell with our foot on the gas pedal. pic.twitter.com/Ml23sO1efT
The two ABT drivers on row 1 of the grid got off to a good start - pole-sitter Robin Frijns maintained the lead into the first corner. Behind him, too, there were initially no changes: Nico Müller followed his teammate in 2nd place. As on Saturday, a number of drivers got their first attack mode very early on, which shuffled the order. So after the first five laps, Jean-Eric Vergne led ahead of Frijns and Mitch Evans.
In the first quarter of the race, fans witnessed a similar picture to the previous day: the lead changed literally every minute, and there were numerous place changes in the rear of the field as well. The best-positioned driver with two attack modes already activated was Müller in first place. Behind him at this point were the two Porsche drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Antonio Felix da Costa - both still without any attack mode activation.
Porsche on the advance
On lap 12, the two Porsches - by now at the front of the field - also drove through the attack zone for the first time and dropped back a bit. One lap later, Andre Lotterer crashed and subsequently had to pit. Sebastien Buemi took the lead after 15 laps ahead of the two Porsche drivers, Vergne and Nick Cassidy. On lap 16, Wehrlein attacked Buemi and took first place. His teammate also shot past Envision and was able to brake just in time to avoid shooting Wehrlein down.
Edo Mortara sustained damage to the front end and had to come into the pits for repairs. A very similar fate befell Sam Bird, who was thus unable to repeat his second place from Saturday. The exact causes were not clear in each case. Müller was still fighting in the leading group in eighth place, while Frijns was only 14th at this stage. The order at the halfway point of the race with the "adjusted" attack mode classification: Wehrlein, Felix da Costa, Vergne and Cassidy. Jake Dennis was also in the mix at the front, but had to go through the attack zone once again.
Buemi also suffered damage to the front and eventually lost a part at the end of the long straight. At a snail's pace, he tried to finish the lap and return to the pits. In the process, he hindered a few other drivers, but no further contact was made. Meanwhile, Max Günther had quietly worked his way forward from 21st on the grid. By lap 24 of 40, the German was already fifth. Cassidy was now in the lead ahead of Dennis and Vergne.
Final stage: Cassidy keeps his nerve
In the top 10, Felix da Costa and Evans had a slight energy advantage compared to their opponents. Overall, however, the field was still very balanced and close together. After a duel over several corners, Evans overtook Wehrlein for 5th place. Cassidy, meanwhile, led for several laps. Dennis was second after three quarters of the race ahead of Felix da Costa, Vergne, Evans, Wehrlein and Günther. Then the E-Prix settled down a bit for the first time. Günther kept trying to get past Wehrlein, but initially remained seventh.
In turn 9, Evans and Felix da Costa clashed slightly, allowing the top 3 in front to pull away a bit. Günther took advantage of the situation and passed Wehrlein. In terms of energy, Dennis and Felix da Costa were best placed with four laps to go. But in the lead was still Cassidy - surprisingly with only marginally less energy.
In the last two laps, things got really exciting again. However, energy saving no longer played a role in the final phase, so there were hardly any attacks. Cassidy kept his nerve and brought home the win. Dennis finished second ahead of Vergne. Günther crossed the finish line in sixth place after a great race to catch up, while Wehrlein was only seventh. Nico Müller gave ABT Cupra further points in ninth place.
In the drivers' championship, runner-up Nick Cassidy has narrowed the gap to leader Pascal Wehrlein to four points. Behind him, a gap of 15 points opens up to Jean-Eric Vergne. But then things get tight. All the regular drivers now have points to their name. Among the teams, Porsche also continues to lead the field. Envision Racing is second, 15 points behind, followed by Jaguar in third. ABT Cupra finally scored its first five points since its Formula E comeback at the home race in Berlin.
The next race is already less than two weeks away on May 6. That's when Formula E makes a guest appearance in Monaco.