Formula E Berlin R6-7 ePrix 2020

This is the first week out of 3 races that we’re covering. The drivers are driving on Berlin Tempelhof circuit, racing backwards on the track to make it interesting. There have been a few driver changes since the drivers went racing in February: Daniel Abt replacing Ma Qing Hua in NIO 333, René Rast replacing Daniel Abt in Audi, Alex Lynn replacing Pascal Wehrlein and Sérgio Sette Câmara replacing Brendon Hartley.

Qualifying – Round 6

Formula E’s session is a little different to the traditional qualifying setups with it’s group qualifying plus superpole. Da Costa takes the first group’s fastest time of 1:07.122. Buemi was the quickest out of group two, putting him in 2nd. Last year’s Formula 2 winner goes the fastest in his group in 3rd, putting him in superpole. Lynn takes the final group’s quickest time, though was only able to set a time to place him 12th. The ones that went to superpole are: António Félix da Costa, Nyck De Vries, Sébastien Buemi, Jean-Éric Vergne, André Lotterer and Jérôme d’Ambrosio. Lotterer took the initial pole position, but Vergne took it away from the German. Da Costa was still left to go against his teammate to take it with a 1:06.799 which was over 0.3 seconds quicker than the 2 times champion, Vergne. The DS Techeetah team take a front row lockout for the first race in the revised calendar.

The qualifying grid is as follows:
1. António Félix da Costa
2. Jean-Éric Vergne
3. André Lotterer
4. Sébastien Buemi
5. Nyck de Vries
6. Jérôme d’Ambrosio
7. Sam Bird
8. Mitch Evans
9. Felipe Massa
10. Robin Frijns
11. Alex Lynn
12. Maximilian Günther
13. René Rast
14. Edoardo Mortara
15. Stoffel Vandoorne
16. Alexander Sims
17. Neel Jani
18. Oliver Turvey
19. Nico Müller
20. Lucas di Grassi
21. Daniel Abt
22. Sérgio Sette Câmara
23. PENALISED Oliver Rowland
24. James Calado

Round 6 (Race 1)

Unlike a usual Formula E race, the first corner was actually relatively clean. Da Costa came off the line well, keeping first ahead of his teammate. Buemi loses a position in the start but manages to take it back. For Sam Bird, he managed to take d’Ambrosio for 6th. For one of the championship contenders, di Grassi, he already made up 3 positions to 17th. This was the start of his campaign to the front. The Techeetah drivers started with a front row lockout for the race and already by the end of the first lap, they had a 2 second gap to Lotterer in third place. However, this meant Lotterer had a lot more battery compared to them, but it was still the start of the race and there was a lot to play for.

Meanwhile for Rowland, it wasn’t a good start to his weekend, already starting from the pitlane and then receiving a 10 second stop and go plus a 5 second penalty because of replacing parts in his car. Calado, who also started at the back, was given a 10 second penalty too.

Jean-Éric Vergne was trying to catch his Portuguese teammate, already setting a faster lap by 0.5 seconds to catch him in. Still, these two drivers were 4 seconds ahead of Lotterer. Behind, Bird was trying to take 6th from d’Ambrosio again after losing it to the Belgian. Further down the grid, di Grassi had now taken 15th, but still was quite far behind from the points that he needed for the championship battle.

Formula E’s antics were back when Frijns was battling Günther and tried to go around him. He slides into the wall and damages his suspension and front wing. Later into the lap, he was told to retire and thus, brought out the safety car. This, in turn, reduced the gap that the Techeetah drivers made to Lotterer.

10 minutes of marshalls moving the broken Envision Virgin Racing car, the drivers went back to green flag. Da Costa maintains a good gap to Vergne by 0.8 seconds and the Frenchman keeps a 0.5 second gap to the German. For d’Ambrosio, it wasn’t much of a good restart since Bird, who has been on his rear for the entire race so far, finally overtook him for 6th.

Attack mode is something that the drivers have to take twice throughout the race. It’s activated by going off line and going through the three markers. Buemi tried to take this when he was ahead of Bird in 5th, but he missed one of the sensors meaning it didn’t activate. This meant that he lost a lot of time to receive no attack mode, consequently lost the position to the British driver. André Lotterer did the exact same around a lap later, trying to take it to battle against Vergne ahead. Not taking the attack mode meant de Vries managed to gain a lot of time since he went off line and was able to capitalise on it and challenge the German. The defense didn’t last long as a lap later, the Dutchman took the position from him. This also didn’t really help Lotterer as Da Costa and Vergne both took attack mode together to now create a gap from him and de Vries.

Sat in 4th, Lotterer goes for attack mode again; this time actually receiving the extra boost of power. He did lose a position to Bird though because of having to go wider for the attack mode. However, with more power, André took the position back. A lap later, he attacks de Vries for 3rd and since he had 35 extra kWh, he took it from the rookie. Bird behind also does the same under attack mode. Meanwhile, d’Ambrosio took 6th from Mitch Evans, but then Buemi does the same to both Evans and d’Ambrosio for 6th. Behind, Da Costa’s championship rival Vandoorne took fellow rival Günther for 11th, however he was still not in the points and it’s crucial for him to close down the gap in the standings.

Felipe Massa had full lock on his tyres, meaning he sailed into the barrier at turn 6 unable to slow down. With a broken suspension, it meant his race was over. Stuck in one of the corners, the full course yellow was called out to retrieve the broken car.

Five minutes later, the green flag was called once again. Da Costa effortlessly gets a good restart to keep a large gap from the French driver, whilst he lead the train of drivers behind. Because of the gap, the Portuguese driver attempts to take the attack mode, but his teammate was already battling him by the time he got out the exit of the attack mode activation zone. With extra power, he managed to pull out ahead of the veteran driver, maintaing first from him.

Sam Bird managed to take 3rd from de Vries and Lotterer, but he crucially still had an attack mode left to take. This didn’t stop the driver though especially as Vergne’s 2nd place was short lived and started to rapidly lose positions. With 6 minutes plus one lap left on the clock, the French driver loses 2nd place to Bird and his former teammate Lotterer was eyeing up third. A bit of defending from JEV meant André struggled to overtake, but eventually, he made it past the veteran driver. The French driver also had the least amount of energy out of the top 5 meaning he now has to coast and regenerate, whilst also defending from drivers behind.

The British driver from London finally takes his attack mode with three minutes left on the clock. He loses a position to Lotterer to put him in 3rd, but with the advantage of extra power, he sailed past the German, who could only sit back without an attack mode to defend. Bird had a 5 second gap to catch up to da Costa, and he knew he could not make it without using too much battery power. Meanwhile, Vergne’s race was going downhill as now he was overtaken by de Vries and for the Dutchman’s teammate, he was now in 6th, taking it from Jérôme d’Ambrosio. Only a few corners later, he dives against the reigning champion to take 5th and sit behind his rookie teammate.

One of the championship contenders, Mitch Evans, was battling with Buemi for 8th position. The Kiwi had to go over the debris that was left by Robin Frijn’s earlier incident, meaning he got a bad exit out the corner. Maximilian Günther wasn’t expecting him to be there and tapped him, spinning the driver from New Zealand around, dropping him to 18th.

The final lap was where most drivers were on the edge in terms of usable energy. Drivers can go to 0%, as long as, they don’t use more than the 0% allowance. Müller ended up not finishing the race after running out of usable energy and everyone in the field, who finished, ended up on ~0% across the line. Meanwhile for two times champion Jean-Éric Vergne, he dropped to where di Grassi was. A bit of defending and contact meant he loses his car. This takes up a lot of energy to get back on track, so he ended up retiring the car back into the garage.

The first race’s results are:
1. António Félix da Costa
2. Sam Bird
3. André Lotterer
4. Nyck de Vries
5. Jérôme d’Ambrosio
6. Stoffel Vandoorne
7. Sébastien Buemi
8. Lucas di Grassi
9. Alexander Sims
10. René Rast
11. Edoardo Mortara
12. Neel Jani
13. Alex Lynn
14. Mitch Evans
15. PENALISED Oliver Rowland
16. James Calado
17. Oliver Turvey
18. Daniel Abt
19. Sérgio Sette Câmara
20. DSQ Maximilian Günther
21. DNF Jean-Éric Vergne
22. DNF Nico Müller
23. DNF Felipe Massa
24. DNF Robin Frijns

Qualifying – Round 7

Vandoorne sets the benchmark time of 1:07.292, which once again, da Costa easily breezed past to set a 1:06.791. De Vries, in group two, took brief second of 1:06.921, until Buemi takes the qualifying lead by 1:06.779. Robin Frijns pushes a few drivers out when he came across the line in 3rd, until Alex Lynn, in group 4, smashed it and took 3rd from the Dutch driver to set a time 0.41 quicker than him.

De Vries takes the first pole position of 1:06.921 in superpole, which was then beaten by Alex Lynn by 0.002 of a second, taking it from him. Da Costa takes it from him with ease with a lap of 1:06.442. Buemi tried to attack the Portuguese driver for the position, but could only settle for 2nd. For the third race in a row, the man from Cascais in Portugal finishes first.

The qualifying grid is as follows:
1. António Félix da Costa
2. Sébastien Buemi
3. Alex Lynn
4. Nyck de Vries
5. Robin Frijns
6. Lucas di Grassi
7. Oliver Rowland
8. Jean-Éric Vergne
9. Sam Bird
10. Edoardo Mortara
11. Maximilian Günther
12. André Lotterer
13. Stoffel Vandoorne
14. Jérôme d’Ambrosio
15. Alexander Sims
16. Oliver Turvey
17. Mitch Evans
18. Felipe Massa
19. Nico Müller
20. Neel Jani
21. Sérgio Sette Câmara
22. Daniel Abt
23. James Calado
24. René Rast

Round 7 (Race 2)

Before the race even starts, it was announced that Rast and Sims both start from the pitlane after some changes to their car.

The lights went out and once more, Da Costa keeps his lead, this time from Buemi. De Vries started in fourth and didn’t even hesistate on trying to make positions at the start, going around the outside into turn one, but had to stay 4th behind Lynn. Just a few corners later, Buemi, Lynn and de Vries were all battling for positions in 2nd. Lynn battles with the Dutch driver for 3rd, but the rookie keeps ahead of the Mahindra driver. For championship fighter Günther, he qualified in 11th so had a lot of places to make to bring a fight to Da Costa in the standings. He took 9th from Vergne just off the line.

Already within the first two minutes of the race, Da Costa has created a 1 second gap to Buemi, just like before in the race prior to this. De Vries, who was behind Buemi, was pretty conservative on the battery front, sitting behind the Swiss driver creating a gap of 1.9 seconds. Meanwhile, for other Dutch driver Frijns, he was attacking Lynn for 4th and managed to take it from the Briton. Da Costa’s teammate, Vergne, was stuck in 10th behind Sam Bird, who had a lot more energy comapred to him.

Sérgio Sette Câmara was the first driver to take the attack mode in 21st. At the front, there was a Dutch driver battle going on, where Frijns was trying to overtake de Vries. The battle didn’t last too long because not soon after, he overtook him for third, putting him on the podium spot.

Günther ended up having to pit 10 minutes into the race for a new front wing and a new wheel, putting him from around 9th to the back of the grid and also a lap down. In terms of championship points, this wasn’t good for the German driver.

Buemi, running in second, takes his first attack mode, being the first one out of the front runners. A little lower down the grid, Müller tries to do the same but misses, losing a position.

With 33 minutes left to go on the clock, full course yellow was called to remove Günther’s front wing that came off on the start/finish straight. On the restart, de Vries was on the back of Frijns, but as soon as the Envision driver accelerated, he lost out to the good restart and even lost a position to di Grassi, putting him to 5th. As per Formula E fashion, another full course yellow was called out for Sam Bird’s lost front wing. Green flag resumed just a few seconds after.

Lynn, in 6th, tried to take attack mode, but missed it, dropping some positions to Mortara, Vandoorne and Vergne. Meanwhile at the front, Frijns manages to go through all 3 detection zones to take attack mode, though as it’s off line, di Grassi takes the position from him.

For de Vries, it went downhill. His car started to lose power with his car slowing down. He comes out the car and pushes it into the opening on track with the marshals. Thus, in turn, calls out full course yellow once again. Three minutes later, the green flag is waved saying the track is clear. Di Grassi has a good restart, but couldn’t catch Buemi ahead. Frijns also sits on the rear of the Brazilian driver.

At the front, Da Costa takes his first attack mode, now within reaching grasp of Buemi, but because he has attack mode, he breezes past him and maintains the lead. Behind, there was a battle for the final points paying positions. Vandoorne takes attack mode, to which Vergne takes the advantage of going wide to take the position, but loses it quickly to the Belgian, who had extra power. Because of attack mode, Stoffel easily passes Rowland and Bird for 5th. Like usual Sam Bird fashion, a late lunge by the Brit enables him to take 6th from him. Rowland goes further down after losing 7th to Mortara, who was also in attack mode.

Di Grassi sat in 2nd with 3.9 seconds between him and Da Costa. Buemi sat in third and took his attack mode to enable him to overtake Lucas for second. Frijns also tried to take Di Grassi with attack mode and managed to, now on the podium. Mortara wastes no time in taking Vergne either for 8th. Lotterer now sits behind Vergne, pressuring the French driver to make a mistake.

12 minutes to go until the end of the race and Rowland takes his final attack mode, whilst everyone who overtook him had none left. Because of that, he passed drivers with ease: Mortara and Vergne. D’Ambrosio takes 13th from Massa, but lost it to the Brazilian driver since he had attack mode.

At the front, Di Grassi is now challenging Frijns for 3rd, combined with Attack mode. Frijns defends for his position with late braking and moving to block. However, Berlin has a long straight and with attack mode, it’s an easy way to pass and so, the Dutch driver loses 3rd to him.

Maximilian Günther’s Berlin race didn’t end well after the collision earlier in the race. After running for a while, he eventually had to pit in and retire his car due to issues.

Di Grassi was slowing to regenerate his battery as Frijns behind had a higher percentage. Alreayd, Robin was 0.4 seconds bheind him and now Vandoorne joined the fight for third. The Dutch driver tried to overtake him in the following lap, but was squeezed on the straight and had to back out. Because of the lost pace, Vandoorne used his fanboost but was unable to take him. Sam Bird also caught the back of the train with all three drivers. However, the season 3 champion managed to hold onto third from the other drivers. For Felipe Massa, he didn’t have enough battery left for the final lap, dropping from 12th to last.

The second race’s results are:
1. António Félix da Costa
2. Sébastien Buemi
3. Lucas di Grassi
4. Robin Frijns
5. Stoffel Vandoorne
6. Sam Bird
7. Oliver Rowland
8. Edoardo Mortara
9. André Lotterer
10. Jean-Éric Vergne
11. Alexander Lynn
12. Mitch Evans
13. René Rast
14. Nico Müller
15. Neel Jani
16. Jérôme d’Ambrosio
17. Daniel Abt
18. Sérgio Sette Câmara
19. Oliver Turvey
20. Alexander Sims
21. James Calado
22. DNF Felipe Massa
23. DNF Maximilian Günther
24. DNF Nyck de Vries

In terms of Formula E coverage, we’ll be back on Tueday for another post with Rounds 8 and 9 summaries and also Rounds 10 and 11’s predictions. Keep an eye out on our social media pages to see how you can get involved in next week’s posts.