Lucas di Grassi has won the penultimate race of the 2020/21 Formula E season, thrusting him into title contention as Nyck de Vries went pointless.
It was time for Formula E to go racing for the penultimate race of the year at the Berlin Templehof Airport. It was a DS Techeetah front-row lockout, with Jean-Eric Vergne on pole from Antonio Felix da Costa.
The championship would not be won today, but it could certainly be lost, with title leader Nyck de Vries stuck well down the order, with second-place Robin Frijns starting 23rd.
The lights went out, and Vergne led away with da Costa behind. There was contact at the back, and Tom Blomqvist pitted to repair the damage. The race was tame at the start, with de Vries up two spots to 17th.
Andre Lotterer was the first driver to go into Attack Mode, down in 17th. There was action after as Pascal Wherlein made contact and got a puncture, and Sam Bird stopped down the main straight. This meant that the Safety Car came out to retrieve Bird’s car.
The Safety Car then came in with 28 minutes left, with Vergne keeping his lead. Sebastien Buemi dropped down the order as four cars picked him off, and Oliver Rowland passed Rene Rast.
Then da Costa took Vergne for the lead, and Rast was scything through the field, he was up to fourth. Then di Grassi and Rast both passed Vergne, setting their sights on da Costa in the lead. Mortara was the next to take Vergne, while both Audis took da Costa for the lead, and Mortara took him for third.
Then huge drama came as title leader de Vries pitted and was out, Mortara took second and Nato took fourth. The race was exploding, di Grassi went into Attack Mode, and all of a sudden it was a Venturi 1-2, Mortara from Nato.
Di Grassi took Nato for second with 12 minutes left, and the race for the win between him and Mortara was well and truly on. He passed Mortara not long after and set about making a gap to the field.
On the last lap, it was di Grassi vs. Mortara, but it was the Brazilian who won, from Mortara, Mitch Evans, and Norman Nato. De Vries saved the championship lead after a tough day.
The top 10 of the Formula E Berlin E-Prix round 1:
|1||Lucas di Grassi||Audi||Winner|
|5||Jake Dennis||BMW i Andretti||+6.331|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Techeetah||+6.714|
|7||Antonio Felix da Costa||DS Techeetah||+7.219|
|8||Max Gunther||BMW i Andretti||+7.771|