Berlin E-Prix: Da Costa dominates frantic race on FE return

Antonio Felix da Costa survived late energy issues to score victory on Formula E’s return in Berlin as DS Techeetah teammate Jean-Eric Vergne slumped from second to 20th.

Berlin E-Prix: Da Costa dominates frantic race on FE return

Da Costa sealed back-to-back series wins with a 5.5-second advantage over late beneficiary Andre Lotterer, despite crossing the line with marginal useable energy remaining.  

A fine start for both DS Techeetah machines left them unchallenged into Turn 1 as a superb launch from Sebastien Buemi forced Lotterer to defend with his Porsche. 

That gave da Costa and Vergne clear breathing space of 2s at the end of the opening lap in an otherwise processional first phase of the race.  

But Robin Frijns brought out the safety car on lap nine after shunting his Envision Virgin Racing car into the wall on the outside of Turn 2 after trying to battle past Maximilian Gunther. 

Although Frijns continued in an attempt to return to the pits, he ran over the kerbs to cause terminal suspension damage and force his retirement. 

After the safety car the DS Techeetah duo were unmatched at the restart, and although Lotterer was able to hang on, he missed the attack mode activation zone. 

Having run off line in an attempt to collect the boost, he lost ground to the leading pair, which looked set to give DS Techeetah a 1-2 - despite complaints over radio from Vergne that da Costa was ignoring team strategy to manage the pace at the front. 

In an effort to pass da Costa, Vergne then opted to activate his higher power attack mode but this became a wasted opportunity after the race was neutralised by a full-course yellow after Felipe Massa crashed at Turn 6. 

As the race resumed, Vergne began to fall back suddenly, allowing da Costa to run home clear with fastest lap to his third FE triumph.

Added to his bonus points for topping his qualifying group, superpole and for snaring fastest lap - the first ever FE cleansweep - da Costa now leads by 41 points.

Lotterer was able to fight past Sam Bird - on his own remarkable recovery - to score a late second position for Porsche.  

Bird had only lined up seventh on the grid, but took the strategic decision to delay taking his attack mode, which put him on a late climb up the order.  

Mercedes' Nyck de Vries hung on in fourth ahead of a strong return for Mahindra Racing, led by Jerome d’Ambrosio, with Vandoorne progressing from 15th to an eventual sixth. Buemi was seventh. 

Gunther was a fortunate eighth, after he tagged Mitch Evans – who was recovering to track position after battling Buemi – with the Jaguar driver spinning into the wall and down to 15th. 

Alexander Sims - entering the race third in the points behind Evans - was a quiet 10th, one place ahead of double DTM champion Rene Rast.  

Vergne began rapidly losing places in the final leg of the race and eventually fell to 20th after being pitched into a spin by Audi's Lucas di Grassi, who finished in ninth place.

Berlin E-Prix - Race results:

shares
comments
Formula E team Envision Virgin achieves carbon neutral status
Previous article

Formula E team Envision Virgin achieves carbon neutral status

Next article

Gunther excluded from Berlin race for exceeding energy limit

Gunther excluded from Berlin race for exceeding energy limit
Load comments
Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong Prime

Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong

Formula E welcomes a mix of past, present and future for the 2021-22 season. The old guard facing off against a sprinkling of newcomers, a fresh qualifying format amid a sporting rules shake-up and a range of minor tweaks to the existing all-electric machines are all subplots to the final campaign before the next generation arrives

Formula E
Dec 3, 2021
The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams Prime

The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams

Electing not to share data with its competitive customer team would have been a straightforward means of gaining an edge on at least one of Mercedes' Formula E rivals last season. But by reciprocating the relationship forged under its initial HWA guise, when it was a customer to Venturi, both teams have reaped the rewards

Formula E
Nov 30, 2021
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Prime

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

Formula E
Nov 29, 2021
How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself Prime

How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself

OPINION: Few figures in racing today divide opinion like Dan Ticktum. The Formula 2 race winner now has the chance to wipe his professional slate clean with his move into Formula E, but it won't be easy at the squad which has brought up the rear for the past three years. Here are the three key criteria he must meet to make a lasting impression on the series.

Formula E
Nov 27, 2021
How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E Prime

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls

Formula E
Nov 26, 2021
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Prime

Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive

OPINION: Circuit racing has traditionally favoured front- or rear-wheel-drive setups, eschewing the equal distribution of power. But for Formula E and other electric-powered series, our columnist believes it’s a perfect fit.

Formula E
Oct 13, 2021
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Prime

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21 Prime

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was one without a narrative for much of the season, with no single car or driver able to break away from the pack. That makes choosing a top 10 especially difficult, particularly as the qualifying format meant some worthy performers were unable to enjoy their day in the sun.

Formula E
Sep 19, 2021