Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa (DS Techeetah) took his third consecutive win in Formula E by succeding again on Thursday in Race 2 of the Season Finale in Berlin. He had already won in Marrakesh at the end of February, before a long break because of the coronavirus pandemia, and on Wednesday for Race 1 on Tempelhof airfield.
With four races to go before this special season closes on August 13, the new leader of the Franco-Chinese team is now a clear favorite for the title. Behind him, Swiss superstar and Le Mans winner Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) took his second podium this season, ahead of another former ABB FIA Champion, Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi (Audi Sport), in third place.
The deal of the day is for Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-Benz EQ), whose 5th place in Race 2 allows him to climb to 2nd of the Championship. And misery continued for reigning double champion Jean-Éric Vergne (DS Techeetah) : the Frenchman had to retire on Wednesday after being hit by too aggressive a rival, and he could only finish 10th place on Thursday night because of a major issue with the rear end of his car.
Da Costa tames Buemi !
In a copy start to Race 1, da Costa took off superbly and lead at Turn 1, with all drivers taking the inside line there except Dutch hopeful Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-Benz EQ) who took a chance on the outside of this superb Templhof track. So that his compatriot Robin Frijns (Virgin Racing) took advantage of the situation to jump on 3rd place.
Only four minutes into the race, da Costa was already the quickest on track, with best lap, and Buemi did not wait too long to launch his Attack Mode, after 11 minutes of tense and exciting racing. Qualified 8th on the grid, Vergne had to be happy with staying in the Top 10 when Maximilian Gunther (BMW i Andretti) ran to the pits after losing his front wing. Yellow flags were waived in order for the German marshalls to pick up several carbon debris.
At restart, Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) also lost a piece of his front wing, in front of the pits, and then de Vries suffered a technical failure on his Mercedes, maybe an electronic issue, so he had to retire on Lap 15, when the race was held up again for a few minutes.
The next restart, 22 minutes from the checkered flag, allowed the duel between da Costa and Buemi to become even more exciting, with 0.346 second only between the two very experienced drivers, until da Costa managed to get away, in the space of a few laps. On Lap 26, his advantage had grown to 2.7 seconds over the former Toro Rosso F1 driver, who then decided to settle for 2nd.
Di Grassi vs Frijns
Race 1 was not so successful for Frijns on the Berlin Tempelhof track, so the Dutch driver decided Race 2 would have to be better and he fought hard with Di Grassi at the end. The Brazilian had been very quick during free practice and also had to make amends after hitting Vergne on Wednesday. So he held off Frijns until the finish line and took the remaining place on the podium. This fight was watched closely by Bird and Vandoorne but none of them could benefit from any stupid mistake by Di Grassi or Frijns.
Next race is scheduled for Saturday on the same track, but going the other way round, anti-clockwise. Will da Costa be able to make it four in a row ? He is perfectly able to achieve this, but now his rivals have the whole of Friday to prepare a sweet revenge…
Berlin E-Prix, Race 2 (Thursday):
1. Antonio Felix da Costa (DS Techeetah)
2. Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e-dams)
3. Lucas Di Grassi (Audi Sport)
4. Robin Frijns (Virgin Racing)
5. Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes)
6. Sam Bird (Virgin Racing)
7. Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams)
8. Edoardo Mortara (Venturi)
9. André Lotterer (Porsche)
10. Jean-Éric Vergne (DS Techeetah)