Da Costa sails to victory at second Berlin E-Prix
DS Techeetah driver Antonio Felix da Costa took another dominant victory at the second race of the Berlin showdown to extend his championship lead to 68 points.
Following his commanding victory on Wednesday, it was once again DS Techeetah driver Antonio Felix da Costa who started the second race of the six-round Berlin showdown from the pole position. At the start, the Portuguese maintained his first position with Mercedes-Benz EQ driver Nick de Vries making up a place to improve to third.
The leading duo managed to build up a gap, escaping from the de Vries-led group. On lap 5, Lucas di Grassi flew past Alex Lynn with the Mahindra driver seemingly failing to keep up with the pace of the leading drivers.
After being the big climber in the opening stages, BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver Maximilian Guenther picked up a puncture on lap nine.
The FIA Formula E race director enforced a period for full course yellow so that marshals could remove some debris from the track. Using the restart, Di Grassi managed to find the way past the Mercedes of de Vries when the full course period ended.
On lap 15, de Vries stopped on the track, enforcing a full course yellow period. That ended the Dutchman’s race after showing promising pace just as he did that yesterday.
On lap 18 da Costa activated his attack mode, but managed to keep his position. With his 235kW energy mode, the Portuguese immediately set the fastest race lap with a time of 1m08.778.
On the next lap, Stoffel Vandoorne showed a fantastic move to overtake Sam Bird and Oliver Rowland with the same manoeuvre. The Belgian usurped the fastest race lap with the help of the attack energy mode.
When Sebastien Buemi activated his second attack mode, di Grassi took over the second place. He was, however, unable to withstand the pressure from the Swiss driver who enjoyed the benefits of his higher energy mode.
On lap 24, da Costa took his second attack mode, but his lead was never in real danger. However, the fight for the podium places behind the Portuguese became thrilling for the closing stages of the race. Di Grassi lost a place to Frijns when he activated his attack mode, but regained that just a lap later with his higher energy level.
While da Costa controlled the race, his team-mate Jean Eric Verge was complaining about his rear tyres. The Frenchman demonstrated a fantastic fighting spirit, but had to yield to Edoardo Mortara and Andre Lotterer, finishing tenth in the end to take a single championship point.
At the front, the battle was raging for the last spot on the rostrum. Di Grassi was struggling in the last four laps to hold on to his third place. Frijns was desperate to overtake the Brazilian who could hang on to his first podium finish since the Riad round.
Da Costa extended his championship lead to 68 points over both di Grassi and Vandoorne, with 120 left to play for. DS Techeetah’s advantage in the Teams’ running is now 65 points to BMW i Andretti Motorsport.
“This was really hard,” said da Costa. “Seb (Buemi) kept me honest all race. Yes, we were a little bit quicker, but there wasn’t a moment where I could stop looking in my mirrors.
“During ATTACK MODE, it was tight and he was fair and left me some space. We had some battery temperature issues but the team helped me out with the right info, and we managed it.
“These days, and this momentum, is rare. I know how hard they are to come by and I’m so happy right now I’m thinking day-by-day. We’ve got four races in quick succession. We’ll see people get closer and closer and I’m expecting it to keep getting tougher.”
The second double-header of the most intense season finale in motorsport history, Rounds 8 and 9, will see a return of the Traditional Berlin Tempelhof Circuit, set for Saturday and Sunday, August 8 and 9.