Jean-Eric Vergne held off the advances of Mitch Evans and weathered a late rain shower to win in Bern and extend his lead at the top of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship standings to 32-points over Lucas di Grassi.
The DS TECHEETAH driver led from lights-to-flag, picking-up three points for Julius Baer pole position in the process and pulling away from his nearest rivals in the championship chase – building a buffer before heading to the season finale in New York.
However, it wasn’t a walk in the park for Vergne, who was hurried and hassled by Evans all the way to the chequered flag. The Panasonic Jaguar Racing pilot put pressure on Vergne, looming large in his mirrors, but was unable to pass with the Frenchman making his car as wide as possible.
Despite trying to take the initiative and activating ATTACK MODE earlier than expected, Vergne mirrored every move Evans made and hung on to victory with an assured and astute drive. Not even a light sprinkling of rain in the latter stages could dampen Vergne’s mood.
“It was actually harder than I expected,” commented Evans. “I was hoping it was going to be a bit of a slam dunk when I was on ATTACK MODE, but it didn’t really materialise.
“I was so close and I got a good overlap but it would’ve been quite risky to hang around the outside at Turn 3, or other places and he was defending well. JEV is a truly good defender and it would’ve meant taking a big risk to try and get by.
“I felt extremely fast today and I want to thank everyone in the team for handing me a great car and it feels great to be on the podium. But ultimately, I felt like I had the pace to win.”
Sebastien Buemi brought his Nissan e.dams car home in third to round-out the podium places and receive the adulation of the adoring Swiss fans. Buemi beat Andre Lotterer at the line, but Lotterer later dropped down the order after being handed a post-race time penalty for ignoring the pit exit light.
With Lotterer’s penalty applied, Sam Bird was promoted to fourth – making the most of his good fortune after suffering a puncture in the skirmishes at the start, that eventually led to the race coming to a stop.
The race was temporarily suspended following a coming together at the first corner, with Pascal Wehrlein and Maximilian Gunther blocking the path for the rest of the pack – allowing Bird to return to the pits and change tyre.
Although he got caught-up in the first-corner collision, Gunther gathered his composure and carried his car to a career-best fifth position. Daniel Abt was a place further back in sixth, ahead of Alex Lynn in seventh and Felipe Massa in eighth.
Lucas di Grassi leapt up the field to ninth after a lacklustre qualifying left him in a lowly grid slot. The final points-paying position was filled by Stoffel Vandoorne, who also vaulted up the order from 15th to 10th.
With the title up for grabs and eight drivers still mathematically in contention, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship crosses the pond for the season finale showdown – set against the backdrop of the stunning New York City skyline on July 13 & 14. Can anyone catch Vergne?
1 Jean-Eric Vergne DS TECHEETAH 1:25:26.873s
2 Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing +0.160s
3 Sebastien Buemi Nissan e.dams +0.720s
4 Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing +2.996s
5 Maximilian Gunther GEOX DRAGON +4.625s
6 Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler +6.930s
7 Alex Lynn Panasonic Jaguar Racing +9.972s
8 Felipe Massa VENTURI Formula E Team +12.310s
9 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler +13.073s
10 Stoffel Vandoorne HWA RACELAB +13.386s
11 Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport +14.714s
12 Antonio Felix da Costa BMW i Andretti Motorsport +18.917s
13 Jerome D’Ambrosio MAHINDRA RACING +21.872s
14 Andre Lotterer DS TECHEETAH +23.106s
15 Tom Dillmann NIO Formula E Team +40.084s
16 Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team +46.622s
17 Gary Paffett HWA RACELAB +1:22.512s
DNF Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 21 Laps
DNF Pascal Wehrlein MAHINDRA RACING 11 Laps
DNF Edoardo Mortara VENTURI Formula E Team 5 Laps
DNF Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing
DSQ Jose Maria Lopez GEOX DRAGON
Jean-Eric Vergne DS TECHEETAH 130
Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 98
Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 87
Andre Lotterer DS TECHEETAH 86
Antonio Felix da Costa BMW i Andretti Motorsport 82
Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing 81
Sebastien Buemi Nissan e.dams 76
Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 75
Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing 69
Jerome D’Ambrosio MAHINDRA RACING 65
Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 63
Edoardo Mortara VENTURI Formula E Team 52
Pascal Wehrlein MAHINDRA RACING 52
Felipe Massa VENTURI Formula E Team 36
Stoffel Vandoorne HWA RACELAB 31
Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport 24
Maximilian Gunther GEOX DRAGON 20
Alex Lynn Panasonic Jaguar Racing 10
Gary Paffett HWA RACELAB 8
Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team 6
Jose Maria Lopez GEOX DRAGON 3
Nelson Piquet Jr. Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1
Tom Dillmann NIO Formula E Team 0
Felipe Nasr GEOX DRAGON 0
Felix Rosenqvist MAHINDRA RACING 0