Formula E: Evans wins Saturday round of the Berlin double-header

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Mitch Evans came out on top of a chaotic and wild opening Berlin race to lead a Jaguar one-two in front of his teammate Sam Bird with home favourite Maximilian Guenther securing third place. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó reports on Round 7 of the 2023 FIA Formula E Championship from the Berlin Tempelhof paddock.

Although Envision Virgin’s Sebastien Buemi secured a Formula E record 16th pole position for the first round of the Berlin double-header, the Swiss driver lost the lead at the start of the race with Dan Ticktum jumping from P4 to the lead with a great getaway.

Buemi followed Ticktum with Sam Bird and Stoffel Vandoorne lining up behind the Swiss racer. Maserati’s Guenther managed to improve his starting position by three places, crossing the finish line in P5 at the end of the opening lap.

Surprisingly, Ticktum activated his first attack mode on Lap 3 which cost him the lead as Bird managed to jump to the front of the field. The next laps saw Bird, Guenther and Buemi use their first attack mode as well.

Former champion Lucas di Grassi used both his attack modes within the opening four laps of the race. Ticktum, Buemi and Bird mimicked the Brazilian driver by going though the attack zone for the second time on Lap 5 and 6 respectively. The unusual use of attack modes was down to the fact that the Berlin race was expected to be tight on energy, forcing drivers to use their power boost while they could.

On Lap 10, Sergio Sette Camara ran into the back of Guenther’s Maserati while Rene Rast crashed into the back of the Brazilian’s car just moments later. Although the race direction first hesitated, Scott Elkins decided to send the safety car out on the 2.4km track on the next lap.

When the Bruno Correia-driver Porsche Taycan left the track, it was Jake Dennis who led the field in front of Edoardo Mortara with Buemi, Vandoorne, Evans and Bird following the leading duo.

The next laps saw several overtaking moves with drivers following each other extremely closely. On Lap 20, the safety car was deployed for the second time when Vandoorne and Ticktum collided on the exit of Turn 3, with their damaged cars left stranded on the circuit.

The action was resumed three laps later with Evans leading Buemi, Guenther, Mortara, Bird, Dennis, Pascal Wehrlein, Felix da Costa and Nico Mueller. The next laps saw a spectacular fight for the lead between Evans, Buemi and Bird.

On Lap 31, Dennis outbraked himself, losing the rear of his his car before finding the wall in contact. Da Costa was caught up by the stray Andretti with the Portuguese losing the front wing of his car picking up severe damage that forced him to retire despite his impressive late-race pace.

The FIA race direction decided to extend the 40-lap race by three laps due to the safety car interruptions.

On Lap 40, Evans closed in on Buemi and managed to overtake his Swiss rival. Buemi was unable to fight back with the Kiwi building up a small gap for the dying minutes of the race. His teammate Bird also closed in on the now second-placed Buemi, but he seemed to wait for the right moment to launch a real attack on the former Formula E champion.

On the last lap, Bird overtook Buemi for second at Turn 6. While the pair fought for P2, Guenther closed in on them as well, and managed to pass Buemi just before they crossed the finish line. Championship leader Wehrlein secured only P6 after appearing to lack race pace throughout the entire E-Prix.

The hectic and wild opening Berlin race means that Wehrlein remains at the top of the championship table with 94 points to his name. Nick Cassidy finished the race in fifth position and sits now second in the Drivers' Championship with double Formula E champion Vergne retaining his third position before the action resumes tomorrow at the very same venue.

As for the Teams’ Championship, Porsche remained on the top of the Standings (152 points), but Envision Virgin closed in on them with only 34 points separating the two outfits. Thanks to their first ever double victory and 43-point score, Jaguar jumped to P3 in the Standings with a total of 126 points.