Felix Rosenqvist secures first Formula E win in Berlin

After a three week break, Formula E returned this weekend for the seventh round of the 2016-2017 Season in Berlin. In qualifying, Lucas Di Grassi took pole position for Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, only 0.001 seconds ahead of DS Virgin Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez. Down in third and fourth, the Mahindra Racing pair of Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld were looking strong for the race, and set for a strong performance in the race held around the Tempelhof airport.

Felix Rosenqvist secures first Formula E win in Berlin

The lights flashed out for the start of the race and the 20 drivers pulled away from their grid slots, with Lucas Di Grassi converting his pole position to the lead while the Mahindra pair of Rosenqvist and Heidfeld jumped Lopez onto the second and third steps of the podium by turn 1.

Quickly in the race, difficulties hit Mitch Evans who was forced to pit on the fourth lap while Rosenqvist started to slowly close in on race leader Di Grassi, setting the fastest lap of the race. The honors of the fastest lap then went to third placed Nick Heidfeld on lap 5, trying to secure one further point in the race.

In the midfield, Sebastien Buemi began to recover from his poor qualifying session after starting in 14th place for Renault e.dams, overtaking Stephane Sarrazin for 12th place on lap 7 while his team mate, Nico Prost, also started making inroads further up the field, overtaking Maro Engel for eighth place on lap 9. Buemi then continued to battle his way through the field, overtaking Jerome D’Ambrosio for 11th on lap 10, Oliver Turvey five laps later for tenth, and then Engel for ninth place on lap 18.

At the front of the grid, Felix Rosenqvist began to make serious inroads on Luas Di Grassi on lap 20 after the Brazilian driver started locking his tyres countless times per lap due to heavy tyre wear caused by the bumpy and rough track surface. Two laps later, Rosenqvist saw his chance to overtake just before the pit stop phase, overtaking Di Grassi around the outside of the first corner on lap 22 for the lead.

At the end of lap 22, the leaders pitted and the rest of the field followed them into the pit lane, swapping their machines for the second half of the race. In the pit stop phase, Rosenqvist held onto his lead from Di Grassi and the pair rejoined the race in first and second while Nico Prost moved further up the field in the pit phase to sixth.

After switching cars, Sebastien Buemi’s change through the field continued with his larger battery life, overtaking Daniel Abt for eighth on lap 28 and Sam Bird on lap 34, placing him directly behind his team mate, Nico Prost. Buemi then later passed Prost on lap 36 for sixth place, just behind Jean Eric Vergne.

With only four laps to go, it was then announced that fifth placed Vergne had been slapped with a five second time penalty because of an unsafe release in the pit lane, handing fifth to Sebastien Buemi.

Felix Rosenqvist crossed the finish line on lap 44 to secure the first Formula E win of his career in only his rookie season, as well as securing Mahindra Racing’s maiden win in their third year in the series. Lucas Di Grassi crossed the line in second place, closing in on Sebastien Buemi in the Drivers’ Championship and holding off Nick Heidfeld who finished in third place also for Mahindra.

Championship leader, Sebastien Buemi finished in fifth place through Vergne’s penalty after starting in 14th place, however, was disqualified after the race after post-race checks found that his tyre pressures were too low, promoting Nico Prost to fifth.

Formula E will return tomorrow for the eighth race of the 2016-2017 Season again in Berlin, where Lucas Di Grassi will again be aiming to cut Buemi’s lead in the standings and may well eye up taking it away from the Swiss driver. Felix Rosenqvist will also be looking to make it two race wins in a row for Mahindra after showing strong pace in the first race of the weekend while his team mate, Nick Heidfeld will be looking to take a fourth consecutive podium.

Results from the Berlin ePrix:

  1. Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing, 25 points
  2. Lucas Di Grassi, Abt Schaffler Audi Sport, 18 points
  3. Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, 15 points
  4. Jose Maria Lopez, DS Virgin Racing, 12 points
  5. Nico Prost, Renault e.dams, 10 points
  6. Daniel Abt, Abt Schaffler Audi Sport, 8 points
  7. Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing, 6 points
  8. Jean Eric Vergne, Techeetah, 4 points
  9. Maro Engel, Venturi Formula E, 2 points
  10. Oliver Turvey, Nextev Nio, 1 point
  11. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi Formula E, 0 points
  12. Nelson Piquet Jr, Nextev Nio, 0 points
  13. Jerome D’ambrosio, Faraday Future Dragon Racing, 0 points
  14. Adam Carroll, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, 0 points
  15. Loic Duval, Faraday Future Dragon Racing, 0 points
  16. Antonio Felix Da Costa, Andretti Formula E, 0 points
  17. Robin Frijns, Andretti Formula E, 0 points
  18. Tom Dillmann, Venturi Formula E, 0 points
  19. Sebastien Buemi,  Renault e.dams, Ret
  20. Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, Ret