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Superb Mortara Denies Vergne, Vandoorne to Take Opening Berlin Victory
Edoardo Mortara took his second victory of the 2021-22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season after a hard-fought opening race of the Berlin E-Prix at the Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit on Saturday.
The ROKiT Venturi Racing driver started from pole position and controlled the race for much of the afternoon, only falling behind other drivers by being out of sync during the attack mode windows. He also survived a late attack from Jean-Éric Vergne that failed to pay off to clinch the victory.
Mortara held onto the lead at the start ahead of Mahindra Racing’s Alexander Sims, with the Briton forced to defend from a fast-starting António Félix da Costa into turn one.
Stoffel Vandoorne made a slow start from eighth on the grid to fall outside of the top ten, as did Nissan e.dams’ Sébastien Buemi, who fell to fifteenth having started tenth.
The lead pack soon began to shuffle around as they utilised their attack modes, with Mortara, Sims, DS Techeetah duo Vergne and Félix da Costa, and the Tag Heuer Porsche FE Team pairing of André Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein pulling a small gap to the rest of the pack.
Sims went aggressive with his attack modes, using them both earlier than the others, but it was not long before he began to fall back, although he did as well as he could have done with a car that’s not as strong at this part of the season as those around him at the front of the pack.
Mortara used his first attack mode later than anyone else and was back in the lead quickly once he had activated it, and he did the same with the second usage, coming out in third but gaining both places once again to resume at the front of the pack.
The Swiss driver then held on to the lead despite an attack by Vergne, and he controlled the race until the chequered flag, while Vergne was forced to defend from Vandoorne.
Yes, Vandoorne. The same driver who had slipped to twelfth on lap one was a man on a mission all race long. The Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team driver made slow progress early on but across the second half of the race he found himself on the back of the leading pack, and from then on, he picked drivers off one after the other.
He found himself in the lead briefly when Mortara took his second attack mode but fell back behind the Swiss racer when the Venturi racer had more power, and he then lost out on second to Vergne when the Frenchman used his Fanboost.
Lotterer finished fourth in the leading of the Porsches, while Mitch Evans also made a good recovery in the second half of the race to end fifth for Jaguar TCS Racing having been off the pace early on.
The second Porsche of Wehrlein ended sixth ahead of the second Jaguar of Sam Bird, while Félix da Costa found himself shuffled down to eighth at the chequered flag. Sims held onto ninth to score his first points of the season, while Nyck de Vries took the final point in the second Mercedes despite not having the same kind of pace as team-mate Vandoorne all race long.
Oliver Rowland just missed out on points in the second Mahindra despite a spirited drive from the British racer, while Robin Frijns ended twelfth having started nineteenth, the Envision Racing driver the big loser in the Drivers’ Championship having seen his main title rivals finish inside the points.
Jake Dennis was a lowly thirteenth for Avalanche Andretti FE Team ahead of Buemi, while the second Andretti of Oliver Askew ended fifteenth having started at the back of the field following a poor performance in Qualifying.
Oliver Turvey finished sixteenth for NIO 333 FE Team, while Sérgio Sette Câmara, who started seventh on the grid for Dragon/Penske Autosport, could not convert his good Qualifying into a strong race result, the Brazilian slipping all the way down to seventeenth by the chequered flag, ahead only of Nissan’s Maximilian Günther, NIO’s Dan Ticktum and his Dragon team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi.
Lucas di Grassi was forced to pit midway through the race with a slow puncture that left him two laps down at the end, while Nick Cassidy was the only retiree, the Envision Racing driver pulling into the pits with nine laps remaining.
But no one had an answer for the pace and performance of Mortara and Venturi, and the Swiss driver celebrated a fantastic day in Berlin on the podium alongside Vergne and Vandoorne. And everyone gets to do it again – albeit in the opposite direction – on Sunday.
Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit Race 1 Result
|1||48||Edoardo Mortara||CHE||ROKIT Venturi Racing||46:16.175|
|2||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||FRA||DS Techeetah||+1.782|
|3||5||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||+1.987|
|4||36||André Lotterer||GER||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||+2.579|
|5||9||Mitch Evans||NZL||Jaguar TCS Racing||+3.189|
|6||99||Pascal Wehrlein||GER||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||+5.405|
|7||10||Sam Bird||GBR||Jaguar TCS Racing||+5.683|
|8||13||António Félix da Costa||POR||DS Techeetah||+6.400|
|9||29||Alexander Sims||GBR||Mahindra Racing||+6.569|
|10||17||Nyck de Vries||NED||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||+6.602|
|11||30||Oliver Rowland||GBR||Mahindra Racing||+8.141|
|12||4||Robin Frijns||NED||Envision Racing||+9.879|
|13||27||Jake Dennis||GBR||Avalanche Andretti FE Team||+13.314|
|14||23||Sébastien Buemi||CHE||Nissan e.DAMS||+15.275|
|15||28||Oliver Askew||USA||Avalanche Andretti FE Team||+22.071|
|16||8||Oliver Turvey||GBR||NIO 333 FE Team||+22.662|
|17||7||Sérgio Sette Câmara||BRZ||Dragon/Penske Autosport||+24.120|
|18||28||Maximilian Günther||GER||Nissan e.DAMS||+28.716|
|19||33||Dan Ticktum||GBR||NIO 333 FE Team||+30.393|
|20||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Dragon/Penske Autosport||+52.025|
|RET||11||Lucas di Grassi||BRZ||ROKiT Venturi Racing||Retired|
|RET||37||Nick Cassidy||NZL||Envision Racing||Retired|
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