FORMULA E MOTORSPORT NEWS

Sébastien Buemi wins Formula E race in Berlin

Sebastien Buemi

With a large part of the fanatical 24,000-strong crowd who attended the event over the weekend there cheer him on, Buemi was handed the winner’s trophy by Formula E superfan James Harmon, creating an emotional coda to a fantastic event.

“First of all, congratulations to Felix, I feel like he is the one who deserved the victory today,” Buemi said. “We try to bring new updates and sometimes it can be quite difficult to put them into proper race condition. Yesterday it didn’t work, so we came back to what we had in Paris and Monaco, and it worked quite well. It’s quite difficult to practice outside of the races and bring things that work straight away, so I’m happy that we managed to have a good pace in the race, the car was very quick. I think we were more or less the same pace [as Rosenqvist]. I’m very happy with that result, it just tastes a little bit different than normal.”

After taking his maiden win in Saturday’s race, Rosenqvist was once again the man to beat in Berlin. He converted his Julius Baer Pole Position into a strong early lead, and was never really under any direct threat from Buemi.

However, as he left the pits following his mandatory mid-race car change, his Mahindra teammate Nick Heidfeld was pitting for his stop. There was a brief period of confusion as the two red and white cars tried to avoid contact with each other, but remarkably Rosenqvist rejoined the race still in the lead.

After reviewing the incident, the race stewards decided it was an unsafe release and a 10-second time penalty was imposed. This removed any chance Rosenqvist had of victory, but such was the leading duo’s advantage over the rest, he was only demoted to second place.

“I think in a couple of hours when I look back at this weekend it will be as a very positive one, both for me and the team,” he said. “Obviously the result is very disappointing, it would have been very cool to take another win, but it’s just a fantastic weekend overall. Today, we were under pressure from Sébastien, we knew that we would be close as they looked very strong compared to yesterday. I knew that I had to drive a perfect race, every corner we had to drive perfect. I think we did a great job.”

Felix Rosenqvist

Felix Rosenqvist, Saturday’s winner, was given a 10-second penalty, which dropped him to second place.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC

 Third place went to Lucas di Grassi, extending his record number of Formula E podiums to 19 from just 29 races. From seventh on the grid, he drove a battling race, initially passing the NextEV NIO of Oliver Turvey, before gaining a further place when the DS Virgin Racing teammates banged wheels, which sent Sam Bird off the track and into the runoff area.

Di Grassi then picked off the second DS of José María López with a nice move, before entering into a long, entertaining battle with the Techeetah of Jean-Éric Vergne. Di Grassi eventually found a way by the Frenchman to end the weekend with a second podium finish.

“I think the event was amazing, the track was well-designed,” said di Grassi. “For us this weekend, we didn’t have the performance to match the Mahindra especially. I had a lot of fun with JEV [Jean-Éric Vergne]. He is very difficult to overtake. We had better pace today. Yesterday we found some pace, which meant we could keep up a little bit with these guys, but we need to improve. There is still a couple of tenths we need to find to be able to fight [for the win].”

In the second Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport car, Daniel Abt also fought his way by Vergne, using the additional energy from his Fan Boost to make the move. López too found a way by Vergne, who was struggling to manage his energy in the longest Formula E race in history.

The Techeetah driver eventually came home in sixth, just ahead of Bird and the second Renault e.dams of Nico Prost, who kept up his record of scoring in every race this season in eighth. Turvey picked up two points for ninth while Heidfeld finally came home in 10th.

After his podium finish on Saturday, Heidfeld was hopeful of being among the fight for the win at his home race. But when a sensor issue forced him to stop on track and turn his car off in qualifying, he was left at the back of the grid.

He charged his way up into the points during the first half of the race before dropping back just before the stops. His incident with Rosenqvist put him back even further, but he recovered to score a consolation point.

Maro Engel picked up damage to his Venturi during the opening lap skirmishes and was left with only the bonus point for Visa Fastest Lap to play for, which he duly delivered.

The championship now moves Stateside for the first ever New York City ePrix on July 15 and 16. It’s the most early awaited race in the championship’s short history. This is a groundbreaking event that is taking motorsport to the unofficial capital city of the world for the very first time.

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