Lucas di Grassi has made Audi’s final home race weekend one to remember, snatching victory away from Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa and putting him on the cusp of a second ABB Formula E Championship.
A drag race to the line saw di Grassi stretch his useable energy as far as possible to hold off ROKiT Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara, as Mitch Evans put himself in the thick of the title fight as he climbed his way from seventh to third.
The race looked to be DS Techeetah’s to lose as pole-sitter Vergne held the lead off the start and continued out front as the Safety Car was deployed after Sam Bird ground to a halt on the start-finish straight.
However, team orders saw da Costa move past his teammate and into the race lead. Yet this would not stand for long as a charging Rene Rast helped to push his Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team to the front.
In his home double-header and final weekend for the German manufacturer, Rast carved his way through the pack during the eight minutes of Attack Mode and jumped up from 12th to fourth in a series of spectacular overtakes.
Just behind his teammate di Grassi, the pair took advantage of a waning Vergne into Turn 6, and the Frenchman was soon dispatched once again by Mortara.
As Rast’s Attack Mode drew to an end, they both passed da Costa, with di Grassi sending it up the inside of Turn 1 to take the race lead.
Both ROKiT Venturi drivers continued to show pace as Mortara assumed the race lead as di Grassi activated his only Attack Mode and Nato held of the Audi before the Brazilian driver sold the Frenchman a dummy move into Turn 10 and then went on to resume the race lead at Turn 1.
Meanwhile, Evans and Jake Dennis had been steadily making their way through the order, taking advantage of Vergne’s and da Costa’s issues to firmly bring themselves into the fight for the podium.
With a maiden championship on the line, Evans went side-by-side with Nato and despite losing the rear into Turn 1, he managed to get the switchback and put his Jaguar on to the provisional podium.
As the seconds and useable energy ticked down, Mortara managed to close the gap to di Grassi and the two faced off in a tense last corner photo finish, with di Grassi narrowly holding of the Swiss driver at bay by a tenth of a second.
Evans rounded out the podium in third, ahead of Nato and Dennis, who was not pleased by some of the ROKiT Venturi’s late defensive moves.
Having led the first half of the race, the two DS Techeetah’s of Vergne and da Costa could only manage to finish in sixth and seventh.
Maximilian Guenther ended the day ahead of compatriots Rast and TAG Heuer Porsche’s Andre Lotterer, who rounded out the points finishers.
It was a less than ideal day for championship contenders Nyck de Vries, Robin Frijns and Sam Bird. De Vries was forced to pit late on with a puncture and finished down in 22nd, but still retains the championship lead by three points.
Envision Virgin’s pace in Berlin left a lot to be desired as Frijns could only manage to bring the car home in 15th. Meanwhile, Bird has now gone three races without a points-scoring finish after stopping on track.
Despite this, his Jaguar team have now assumed the Teams’ Championship lead by five points heading into the 15th and final round of the 2020/21 Championship.
|1||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler|
|2||Edoardo Mortara||Rokit Venturi Racing||0.141|
|3||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||5.499|
|4||Norman Nato||Rokit Venturi Racing||5.589|
|5||Jake Dennis||Andretti Motorsport||5.830|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Techeetah||6.411|
|7||Antonio Felix da Costa||DS Techeetah||6.777|
|8||Maximilian Guenther||Andretti Motorsport||7.562|
|9||Rene Rast||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||7.798|
|10||Andre Lotterer||Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||14.124|
|11||Sebastien Buemi||Nissan e.dams||15.546|
|12||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||16.214|
|13||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.dams||16.814|
|14||Nick Cassidy||Envision Virgin Racing||16.917|
|15||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||21.278|
|16||Joel Eriksson||Dragon/Penske Autosport||23.666|
|17||Alexander Sims||Mahindra Racing||29.019|
|18||Sergio Sette Camara||Dragon/Penske Autosport||30.962|
|19||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 Formula E Team||33.199|
|20||Alex Lynn||Mahindra Racing||33.438|
|21||Pascal Wehrlein||Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||33.781|
|22||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||1 Lap|
|23||Tom Blomqvist||NIO 333 Formula E Team||DNF|
|24||Sam Bird||Jaguar Racing||DNF|
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