Lucas di Grassi teed up what will be an enthralling final round of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship by sealing the race win for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in the BMW i Berlin E-Prix presented by CBMM Niobium Round 14.
The Brazilian measured his use of the 35kW ATTACK MODE boost to perfection to pip ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Edo Mortara over the line while Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) came home third.
“It was a good race, we had strong pace throughout the whole race,” commented Evans. “It was just trying to find the right time to do the long attack. I think we timed it well, I just had to use up quite a bit of energy to do some of those overtakes and I think that hurt me a little in the end with Norman Nato fighting behind me. He did a great job, and I just hung on in the end. But it feels good to put ourselves back right in contention with the Championship.
“I’ll be in Group 1 tomorrow so that’s going to be tricky, but as some of the drivers proved today you can make it into Super Pole. We’re going to have to tune her up and go again tomorrow and hopefully we have some strong pace to finish off the year.”
Di Grassi started on the second row behind DS TECHEETAH’s Antonio Felix da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne, who led for two thirds of the encounter. The DS drivers then lost out to the charging Audi duo, led by di Grassi, with teammate Rene Rast flying from 12th to second spot. After the Audis hit the front, ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara and Norman Nato then jumped the pair through their ATTACK MODE boost. Da Costa slipped to an eventual sixth and Vergne seventh, while Rast’s charge wouldn’t last as he fell to ninth.
Di Grassi was late to take his ATTACK MODE activation and the wily racer made it count. He passed Nato then Mortara in the closing stages and held off the latter over the line for the race win with Evans steering to an impressive third from seventh on the grid ahead of Nato fourth and Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) fifth.
Standings leader Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) failed to finish, retiring to the pit-lane but through it all, he holds his advantage atop the Drivers’ World Championship, with Mortara rising to second, just three points back while Dennis sits third. Sam Bird suffered, too; his Jaguar stopping on the start-finish with a technical issue, marking a third consecutive DNF just as the Brit had a sniff of points.
Despite that, Evans’ podium was enough to see him fourth in the Drivers’ and Jaguar rise to the top of the Teams’ table, ahead of DS TECHEETAH by five points.
More than half the grid can still win the title, while the top seven in the Drivers’ World Championship, down to reigning champion Da Costa, are split by just nine points. It’s going to be some finale.
Free Practice ahead of Round 15 kicks off at 08:00 tomorrow with qualifying at 11:30 and the race at 15:30 local time.
Race Results Round 14 – Berlin (Top 15)
|1||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler|
|2||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing|
|3||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing|
|4||Norman Nato||ROKiT Venturi Racing|
|5||Jake Dennis||BMW i Andretti Motorsport|
|6||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS TECHEETAH|
|7||António Félix da Costa||DS TECHEETAH|
|8||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport|
|9||René Rast||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler|
|10||André Lotterer||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team|
|11||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.dams|
|12||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team|
|13||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.dams|
|14||Nick Cassidy||Envision Virgin Racing|
|15||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing|
Drivers Points (Top 5)
1/ Nyck De Vries 95
2/ Edoardo Mortara 92
3/ Jake Dennis 91
4/ Mich Evans 90
5/ Robin Frijns 89
11/ Nick Cassidy 76