Daniel Abt concerted his pole position into a dominant win at his and the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s home ePrix in Berlin, leading home teammate Lucas di Grassi at the Tempelhof Airport circuit.
It was just the second time in the Formula E Championship’s history that a team has claimed a 1-2 finish, with the first being the Jean-Éric Vergne and André Lotterer’s feat for Techeetah at the Buenos Aires ePrix earlier this year.
Championship leader Vergne completed the podium in third, extending his points advantage over his closest rival Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing), who finished seventh.
The start of the 45-lap race saw Abt easily convert pole position into the lead of the race, leaving fellow front-row starter Oliver Turvey to defend hard from Vergne as the field funneled toward Turns 1 and 2.
Vergne was outfoxed by Jérôme d’Ambrosio through the opening corners, with the Belgian running his Dragon Racing car around the outside of the Frenchman to snatch fourth place.
D’Ambrosio’s joy would prove short-lived, however, as he steadily fell down the order over the course of the race, unable to keep pace with those around him.
With Vergne successfully clearing d’Ambrosio, he set about chasing down Turvey, while behind him di Grassi moved up to fifth at d’Ambrosio’s expense.
Di Grassi was on a charge and disposed of Vergne and then Turvey with late lunges down the inside of thr Turn 6 hairpin on Laps 11 and 12.
Sébastien Buemi was also working his way forward in the Renault e.dams. Starting from seventh on the grid, the Swiss driver passed Vergne for fourth place at Turn 9 on the same lap that the Frenchman was passed by di Grassi.
By this stage Abt had pulled clear and held a lead of almost four seconds, which he maintained through to the mandatory car swaps.
Turvey was the first of the frontrunners to perform his car swap on Lap 22, followed a lap later by Abt, di Grassi, Vergne and Buemi, who had swapped positions thanks to a forceful move by the championship leader at Turn 1.
Abt lost precious time during his car swap as was forced to wait for Buemi to enter the Renault e.dams pit box before he could exit his own garage.
That allowed di Grassi to slash into his teammate’s lead to less than one second, but Abt was able to regroup and pull away from the reigning champion. He posted the fastest lap of the race on Lap 26 – earning the maximum possible points haul for the weekend – and crossed the finish line 6.7 seconds clear to claim victory.
It was the German’s second Formula E Championship win, following on from his maiden triumph at Mexico City earlier in the season.
Having overtaken Buemi just before their pit stops, Vergne emerged from the pits behind the Swiss driver and had it all to do again to reclaim the position he had gained.
The pair closed up on third-placed Turvey over the following laps, with Buemi passing the NIO driver at the final corner on Lap 33.
Vergne followed the Renault e.dams driver through the opening and then launched his attack on Buemi at Turn 6 on the next lap. Buemi tried to cover him, but the canny Vergne switched back to the inside to claim the final podium spot.
Buemi would finish fourth ahead of Turvey, with Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird claiming sixth and seventh respectively after starting ninth and tenth.
Venturi’s Maro Engel finished in eighth place ahead of Vergne’s Techeetah teammate André Lotterer, who started last and had to serve a 10-second stop/go penalty during his car swap for causing the accident at the end of the previous ePrix in Paris.
Nick Heidfeld came out on top in a late multi-car battle with Nelson Piquet Jr’s Jaguar and the Dragon Racing entry of José María López to claim the final point. Piquet and López slipped back to twelfth and eighteenth by the chequered flag.
Vergne’s other championship rival Felix Rosenqvist came away from the Berlin ePrix with no points, after running wide and nearly spinning his Mahindra trying to pass a number of drivers around the outside of the Turn 1 and 2 sweeps. The Swede recovered to finish eleventh, but now lies 76 points behind championship leader Vergne – with Bird between the two and 40 points adrift of the Frenchman – and is almost out of mathematical contention for the Drivers’ Championship title.
The penultimate round of the 2017-18 FIA Formula E Championship season will see the field head to Switzerland’s largest city, Zürich, on June 10.
|2018 ABB Formula E BMW i Berlin ePrix – Final Classification (45 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result||Pts|
|1.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||45||55:35.346||29|
|2.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||45||+ 6.758||18|
|3.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Techeetah Renault||45||+ 12.894||15|
|4.||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||45||+ 17.282||12|
|5.||Oliver Turvey||NIO Formula E Team||45||+ 19.620||10|
|6.||Mitch Evans||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||45||+ 24.586||8|
|7.||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing Citroën||45||+ 34.610||6|
|8.||Maro Engel||Venturi Formula E Team||45||+ 37.814||4|
|9.||André Lotterer||Techeetah Renault||45||+ 44.359||2|
|10.||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||45||+ 45.931||1|
|11.||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||45||+ 46.381|
|12.||Nelson Piquet Jr||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||45||+ 49.087|
|13.||Tom Dillmann||Venturi Formula E Team||45||+ 50.150|
|14.||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||45||+ 50.381|
|15.||António Félix da Costa||MS&AD Andretti Formula E||45||+ 52.715|
|16.||Alex Lynn||DS Virgin Racing Citroën||45||+ 53.000|
|17.||Luca Filippi||NIO Formula E Team||45||+ 53.302|
|18.||José María López||Dragon Racing Penske||45||+ 53.611|
|19.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing Penske||45||+ 54.289|
|20.||Stéphane Sarrazin||MS&AD Andretti Formula E||45||+ 1:09.954|
Bonus Championship Points:
- Three bonus points awarded to Daniel Abt for claiming pole position
- One bonus point awarded to Daniel Abt for posting the fastest race lap by a top-ten finisher.
Image via ABB FIA Formula E Championship