"A very, very proud moment" - Günther ends negative spiral with Maserati's 1st Formula E podium
Maximilian Günther is back. After a long dry spell, the German Maserati driver not only scored his first World Championship points of the season, but also the first ever Formula E podium for the Italian sports car manufacturer. After the podium ceremony, he emotionally described his late charge against Sebastien Buemi in the final corner, which earned him his first trophy in just under two years.
"It's a mega feeling," Günther told 'e-formula.news' and explained his joy: "The start of the season was extremely difficult for us. We've already worked our way forward on the last race weekends, have now been in the (qualifying) duels four times in a row. But we didn't score the points. Between Sao Paulo and Berlin, we had a very good test, which gave me a good feeling."
This was already evident in the two free practice sessions, which the 25-year-old completed in positions 3 and 1. In qualifying, he again qualified for the quarter-finals in the group stage and ultimately finished in a solid eighth place on the grid. From there, he fought his way to the front early on. In the race, he even collected lead laps, but - like all the other drivers - was part of the constant position changes.
"At one point I was in 9th place at the back, then I felt that I had to move forward quickly now, because otherwise the train would leave. I made up three places in one lap, which was race-decisive for me. It was pretty spectacular," Günther looks back.
"One of the most difficult races I've ever driven"
The German described Saturday's race in Berlin as "one of the most difficult races I've ever driven." Normally, Formula E drivers get beeps in their ears when they should lift off the power pedal to save energy. "You could pretty much ignore those in a race like today. You had to freestyle."
"It just depends so much on what everyone else is doing because everyone is trying to save energy," Günther explained. "It was definitely not a race from a drawing board. It's like chess in a Formula E car. I just had to go by my instinct and feeling on how to position myself."
Attack on final corner brings podium
In the closing stages, Günther lurked in fourth behind the three Jaguar cars and began stalking the "big cats". "I saw how Sam (Bird) and Seb (Buemi) were fighting. I was closing in on Sam bit by bit in terms of energy until I knew I was pretty much on par with the two of them. Seb had to defend a lot, and I already knew it would be very tight for him in the final corners."
"Then in the last corner I saw that he was off the throttle early and that I still had a bit of energy left on my steering wheel. Then I passed on the outside, but got a bit wide out. There was a little contact, but it was nothing unusual. So we came out of the last corner side by side. It was like a drag race to the finish line, and he ran out of energy a little earlier than I did."
"Berlin home win 3 years ago was already special, but..."
Günther finally scored his first world championship points of the 2023 season and his first Formula E podium since his New York City win for BMW in 2021. Even though he had already won once in Tempelhof during the 2020 season, he describes this Saturday's podium ceremony as "sensational."
"The Berlin home win three years ago was already very special, but something was missing, and that was the fans. Now just to be able to stand on the podium today, even though I didn't win the race, was a very, very proud moment," said Günther.
On Sunday, he could go one better. Formula E will then be back in Berlin-Tempelhof for its second race. Could it even be enough for the top spot?