De Vries "grateful fortune chose us" in FE title decider

Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries says he is “grateful that fortune chose us” after becoming Formula E’s first world champion in a dramatic title decider in Berlin.

Listen to this article

The Dutchman arrived in the final race of the 2020/21 season with a narrow three-point advantage over the Venturi of Edoardo Mortara, but a 13th-place starting position left him vulnerable to his title rivals on the reversed Tempelhof Airport circuit.

However, his championship hopes took a major boost when Mortara collected the stranded Jaguar of Mitch Evans at the start, putting both of them out of the race.

After a safety car restart, BMW rookie Jake Dennis was the next title contender to fall out of contention, crashing at the exit of Turn 1 with what appeared to be a technical issue. 

With three of his primary rivals retiring in the opening laps and remaining challengers running outside of the points, de Vries effectively had the drivers’ title in his bag by that stage.

But he continued to charge his way up the order, rising as high as third behind Mortara’s teammate Norman Nato and the lead Nissan of Oliver Rowland.

After a close battle with Mahindra’s Alexander Sims, the Porsche of Andre Lotterer and his own teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, he settled for eighth, which was still enough to secure the drivers' title by seven points over Mortara.

With Stoffel Vandoorne finishing on the podium in third, Mercedes also clinched the teams’ championship in only its second season in the category, overhauling what was a 13-point deficit to Jaguar coming into the final race.

Speaking after his first title success since Formula 2 in 2019, de Vries admitted that fortune was on his side in the Berlin E-Prix, but stressed that his own performance was worthy of a champion.

“I'm lost for words,” said the 26-year-old, who has also won titles in world karting and Renault Eurocup. “I'm starting to get a little bit emotional. 

“Of course I feel sorry for what happened to Mitch and Edo because they deserved to fight till the end, it was an extremely tight championship all the way through. 

“Everyone had a lot of ups and downs, and everyone was really in the same boat and that's why we came to the point of today, everyone basically being in contention and having a shot at this championship.

"And I just feel very very grateful that the fortune has chosen us. [But] I think we drove an incredibly strong race, I'm proud of that.

“Everyone pushed really really hard and everyone worked day and night, and I'm just very grateful to give this reward to the team. 

“For me personally it still needs to sink in a little bit. I don't quite realise it yet. It's 10 years since I won a world championship, 2010 and '11 I won it twice in karting, 2019 was F2, and ultimately no one can take this away from me and that's what counts and that makes me happy.”

Marshals attend the damaged cars of Edoardo Mortara, Venturi Racing, Silver Arrow 02, and Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 5

Marshals attend the damaged cars of Edoardo Mortara, Venturi Racing, Silver Arrow 02, and Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 5

Photo by: Rudy Carezzevoli / Motorsport Images

Although de Vries started the 2021 campaign with one of the most dominant victories in Formula E’s recent history, he also went through some difficult patches later in the year, slipping to 10th in the championship after New York - 22 points behind then standings leader Sam Bird.

Much of his inconsistent results were down to Formula E’s qualifying system which left him in the unfavoured first group, but both he and Mercedes have also been guilty of making some uncharacteristic mistakes over the course of the season.

Asked to describe Mercedes’ season of peaks and troughs, team principal Ian James said: “Today was pretty much the peak of peak. 

“Pretty much like Nyck it's going to take a while [for me] to settle in I because this series is designed in such a way that you never know what's going to happen. 

“If we look back at the season there were some mistakes of our own making, that's for sure, there were times when we were unlucky as others have been as well, but ultimately it's come good in the end. 

“If I think about from a Mercedes-Benz's perspective, we've got 127 years in motorsport heritage and again to be the first world champions here, we are going to be savouring that for a while.”

Mercedes entered Formula E as a full-blown constructor in 2019/20 after taking over from its partner team HWA, but the German manufacturer’s tenure in the all-electric series could prove to be short lived with an announcement of its departure expected in the coming days.

shares
comments

Related video

Evans "hurts in every aspect emotionally" after Berlin Formula E crash
Previous article

Evans "hurts in every aspect emotionally" after Berlin Formula E crash

Next article

Dennis: "Weird sound" preceded Berlin Formula E crash

Dennis: "Weird sound" preceded Berlin Formula E crash
The trait Vandoorne rediscovered to claim Formula E's era-ending title Prime

The trait Vandoorne rediscovered to claim Formula E's era-ending title

After Nyck de Vries was crowned Formula E champion in 2021, his Mercedes teammate Stoffel Vandoorne stepped forward this season as the Gen2 era and his team bowed out. As he did on the way to the GP2 crown in 2015, the Belgian achieved a peerless level of consistency and was only outside the points once, with his sole win in Monaco sufficient to head off a chasing pack headed by Mitch Evans

Formula E
Sep 19, 2022
Why Bird can bounce back after a tough 2021-22 Formula E season Prime

Why Bird can bounce back after a tough 2021-22 Formula E season

With his winning streak coming to an end this season, the 2021-22 Formula E season was tumultuous for Sam Bird, failing to gather momentum as Jaguar generally struggled. But the long-term favourite looks forward to bouncing back next season as the championship enters its new era

Formula E
Aug 30, 2022
What Formula E needs next after saying goodbye to Gen2 Prime

What Formula E needs next after saying goodbye to Gen2

The 2021-2022 Formula E season finale brought the curtain down on the Gen2 era of the all-electric world championship. It elevated FE to new heights, fulfilling its intended directive. While it is a good launching pad for the impending Gen3 cycle, there are certain aspects the series must tackle for the new era to have the same impact as its predecessor

Formula E
Aug 16, 2022
The traits behind Vandoorne's triumphant Formula E title charge Prime

The traits behind Vandoorne's triumphant Formula E title charge

The odds were heavily stacked in Stoffel Vandoorne’s favour to capture the Formula E crown at the Seoul finale, but chief rival Mitch Evans applied maximum pressure with victory in the first race. It meant Vandoorne had to show his resolve to reproduce the key qualities he held all season to complete his march to the title

Formula E
Aug 15, 2022
Can anyone beat Stoffel Vandoorne to the Formula E title? Prime

Can anyone beat Stoffel Vandoorne to the Formula E title?

Stoffel Vandoorne is on the brink of the Formula E title with a commanding lead ahead of the Seoul finale, but both rivals and unknowns still stand in his way. Here’s a run through of what Vandoorne must overcome to clinch the championship and how his competition will look to pull off the biggest of shocks.

Formula E
Aug 10, 2022
How Formula E's most underrated driver is taming his Dragon Prime

How Formula E's most underrated driver is taming his Dragon

It might not look like the most glittering of Formula E campaigns, but Dragon Penske’s youngster has caught the eye of those who count despite his future remaining unclear. Regardless of the distortion, Sergio Sette Camara has a clear vision of what he’s focused on and how to get there.

Formula E
Aug 4, 2022
How Formula E's title contenders were upstaged in London Prime

How Formula E's title contenders were upstaged in London

The penultimate stop on Formula E's world tour took in London's ExCeL, where the championship contenders were upstaged by two first-time winners in 2022. Andretti’s Jake Dennis kept the home fires burning in the first race as Venturi’s Lucas di Grassi claimed the second, but two consistent finishes mean its advantage Stoffel Vandoorne heading to the Seoul finale.

Formula E
Aug 1, 2022
The ex-F1 racer turned team boss adapting to a FE title fight Prime

The ex-F1 racer turned team boss adapting to a FE title fight

For the second year in a row, the Venturi team is in the thick of the fight for Formula E title glory with Edoardo Mortara. That's despite a change to a more meritocratic qualifying system, which was expected to give the works Mercedes team an edge, and ex-Formula 1 racer Jerome d'Ambrosio being new in the team principal hot seat. As he tells Motorsport.com, it's a challenge he's revelling in

Formula E
Jul 26, 2022