Same song, second verse for Antonio Felix da Costa and DS Teechetah who won two in a row at Berlin after once again qualifying on the pole with a time of 1.06.442, nearly beating Nissan e.Dams driver Sebastien Buemi who placed second.
The race wasn’t all that easy for da Costa, with three full course yellows for debris throughout the 45-minute event. However, despite the field being bunched back up again for a brief period of time, da Costa kept the lead and was consistent with his race pace to take home another victory for DS Teechetah.
‘Today was very hard,” da Costa said. “We were quicker but there wasn’t a moment Seb (Buemi) didn’t have me looking in my mirrors. The first ATTACK MODE was a bit tight especially in the exit but I knew I had the gap – Seb was fair and left me the space. The team was giving me the right information on the battery temperature. Days like this are rare, I know how hard it is to get here and I’m happy to be living this now. Day by day everyone will get close to each other, the next few races will be very tough!’
As the second race got underway, BMW i Andretti driver Alexander Sims started from the pit lane for a battery change prior to the green flag. Rene Rast driving for Audi SportABT Schaeffler had to start from the pit lane as well.
Da Costa led the first lap by 0.878 seconds over Sebastien Buemi. With Da Costa leading the way, many drivers were pushing hard to keep up with his impressive race pace, but some saw trouble along the way. On lap 2 early in the race, Alexander Sims in the No. 27 had to serve a drive-thru penalty and by doing so, lost some track position. Though for Sims, the day only got worse and wound up placing 20th in the final running order, one day after earning points by finishing 10th.
On lap 9, Maximilian Günther’s Berlin experience continued to go downhill, as he was forced into the pits by pitting for a new front wing and a left front tire after contact in the wall and battling hard with Envision Virgin’s Sam Bird. Günther would rejoin the race 24th, one lap down. Eventually, the German’s day would be cut short and retired from the race.
Quickly after his misfortune, race director Scot Elkins called for a full course yellow for debris on the racing circuit. The yellow was brief without having to deploy a safety car, but another full course yellow had to be called again just a few laps later. This time, for Sam Bird’s Envision Virgin Racing’s No. 2 machine. It appeared Bird lost a missing wheel shroud, which was left on the track, and prompting race officials to throw the yellow.
Even though Bird lost the wheel shroud, he kept going and was running in the seventh position.
The final full-course yellow was caused by Nyck de Vries, who was out of his Mercedes-Benz EQ entry due to the car stalling on the track. De Vries had been slowing laps prior to the yellow. Meanwhile, his teammate Stoffel Vanndorne was making moves in his Mercedes-Benz entry, when the German made a thrilling move which put him three-wide with Sam Bird and Oliver Rowland.
As is normally the case in Formula E, once the time remaining starts to wind down, the action intensifies. That was the case for Lucas di Grassi and Robin Frijns, who began battling for a podium position.
Fortunately for da Costa, he didn’t have to worry about the battle behind him and scored his third consecutive victory of the 2019/20 season.
However, da Costa’s closest competition Sebastien Buemi came home in second and recorded his second podium of the year, his first since Mexico City.
“The race was closer than I thought,” Buemi said. “I was unlucky with the first ATTACK MODE as there was Full Course Yellow and I lost its advantage – that would have probably changed things. I had to overtake Lucas and wasted some time there, but in terms of pace, we weren’t too far off. DS TECHEETAH are extremely quick, hopefully, on Saturday we’ll have more pace during Qualifying. Today we have made a big improvement, on Saturday we’ll be racing on the original track and we hope to do even better ahead of the next race and maybe challenge them.”
Final Classification Results
- Antonio Felix da Costa
- Sebastien Buemi
- Lucas di Grassi
- Robin Frijns
- Stoffel Vandoorne
- Sam Bird
- Oliver Rowland
- Edoardo Mortara
- Andre Lotterer
- Jean Eric-Vergne
- Alex Lynn
- Mitch Evans
- Rene Rast
- Nico Mueller
- Neel Jani
- Daniel Abt
- Sergio Sette Camara
- Oliver Turvey
- Alexander Sims
- James Calado
- Felipe Massa
- Maximilian Günther
- Nyck de Vries
Up Next: FIA ABB Formula E drivers and teams will get one-day off before returning to on-track action Saturday for race No. 3 at Berlin, scheduled for 6:30 p.m./local Berlin time.