By Thomas Woloch
Portuguese driver António Félix Da Costa (DS-Techeetah) won the 1st Berlin E-Prix of the 2020 Season Finale on Wednesday. The native of Cascais dominated the first round (out of six) by leading the race from start to finish.
Before Wednesday’s race, Da Costa was leading the series 11 points ahead of his closest rival Mitch Evans (Panasonic Jaguar Racing). After this first race, he is now 40 points ahead of the Kiwi driver who remains second in the Championship standings.
Starting from pole, da Costa got off to a great start and distanced his team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne in the third lap. The race started well for the two-time Formula E champion who, after 10 minutes, was ahead of André Lotterer (Porsche) by four seconds.
The first yellow flag of the race came on lap 10 when Robin Frijns (Virgin Racing) hit the wall. The race was neutralized under the Safety car. At the restart, Lotterer and Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-Benz EQ) switched to the wide line on Turn 1 to obtain Attack Mode, which allowed them to grab some 35 extra kW. But only the Dutch driver, last year’s Formula 2 champion, managed to activate it and subsequently overtook the German driver.
On lap 19, Da Costa got the best lap of the race. A few seconds later, Felipe Massa (Venturi Racing) demolished his front wing. The race was under yellow flags for the second time.
“Damn, let me talk”
For DS-Techeetah, the operation seemed to be on the right track. But on his radio, Jean-Éric Vergne repeatedly showed signs of frustration while driving. Formula E’s only Frenchman said : “Damn, let me talk when I have to talk,” to his engineer, while discussing the strategy. Ranked second during three quarters of the race, Vergne was eventually overtaken by de Vries, Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) and André Lotterer.
Less than 2 minutes from the end of the race, Evans span while his Portuguese rival was about to get the checkered flag. Meanwhile, continued to express his anger by saying : “I can’t fight.” On the last lap, the Frenchman was passed by Lucas Di Grassi (Audi Sport) in a very aggressive manner. The attack was not very appreciated by ‘JEV’ : “What was this? Di Grassi? It’s a joke…” Returning to the pits at the end of the race, JEV finished 20th as his teammate celebrated his second victory this season, after Marrakesh earlier this year.
Classification of the first round of Berlin E-Prix (Wednesday):
1. Antonio Felix da Costa (DS Techeetah)
2. André Lotterer (Porsche)
3. Sam Bird (Virgin)
4. Nyck de Vries (Mercedes EQ)
5. Jerome d’Ambrosio (Mahindra)
6. Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes EQ)
7. Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e-dams)
8. Maximilian Guenther (BMW)
9. Alexander Sims (BMW)
10. René Rast (Audi)