Formula E: Cassidy secures victory in second Berlin round
Nick Cassidy took his first win in the current Formula E season in this weekend’s second Berlin E-Prix, beating Jake Dennis by only four tenths of a second. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó reports on the Sunday Berlin race of the 2022/2023 FIA Formula E World Championship from the Tempelhof paddock.
Following the sunny weather yesterday, cold and rainy conditions welcomed the 22-driver field on the second day of running at the temporary Tempelhof venue in Berlin. As a result of the wet conditions, the pecking order from Day 1 has been completely changed for today with yesterday’s two fastest teams – Jaguar and Maserati – losing their competitiveness.
Instead, it was the ABT Formula E team which took a shock front-row lockout with Robin Frijns taking pole from team-mate Nico Mueller. The start of the second Berlin E-Prix was not straightforward though as protesters gained access to the track by climbing up the catching fences just before the start. As the protesters sat down on the circuit, the start procedure was aborted and Race Director Scot Elkins briefly sent out marshals to the track to examine the track surface.
When the race could be started, pole-sitter Frijns could hang on to his starting position to lead his team mate Nico Mueller into the first corner. Envision Virgin racer Sebastien Buemi occupied P3 with Jean-Eric Vergne, Mitch Evans and Pascal Wehrlein following the Swiss driver.
Just like yesterday, drivers started to use their attack mode quite early on in the race as its early activation proved beneficial yesterday on the temporary Tempelhof circuit where energy management is usually not easy to master.
Buemi has dropped all the way down the order following contact with Dennis, dislodging his front wing ⬇️— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) April 23, 2023
Follow the @SABIC #BerlinEPrix along LIVE: https://t.co/tTNGWyC49M pic.twitter.com/JML3p1gqmy
In the first phase of the race, drivers constantly changed the top positions as no one wanted to lead and lose the benefit of a tow which has proved very powerful and beneficial in terms of energy management so far this season.
The two Porsche drivers Antonio Felix da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein managed to climb up the order and seemed to have the upper hand over the rivals. However, as soon as they hit the front, their competitors were able to react with Vergne taking over the lead on Lap 20.
After starting from eighth on the grid, Cassidy slowly moved up the order and hit the front of the field at Turn 6 with 16 laps to go. Following his costly mistake yesterday, Dennis shadowed Cassidy for the last part of the race with one per cent more energy than the Kiwi.
With only three laps left on the board, fourth-places Evans made a mistake which allowed Cassidy, Dennis and Vergne to escape into the distance. However, the Evans-led group closed in on the leading trio once again.
Despite his power advantage, Dennis never looked likely to make a move, and Cassidy was able to secure his first Formula E race win of the season in Berlin. Dennis and Vergne completed the podium with yesterday’s race winner Mitch Evans following in P4.
Despite their promising mid-race pace, Porsche driver Felix da Costa only managed a fifth place in front of local hero Maximilian Guenther, who showed a remarkable performance to bounce back from his low-key qualifying result.
Championship leader Wehrlein appeared to be in contention for the win at the mid-point of the E-Prix, but dropped back to seventh with reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne securing P8. Abt Cupra racer Mueller was not able to convert his second starting position into a podium place, and had to settle for P9 with Neo 333 driver Dan Ticktum completing the top ten.
The perfect drive? 🔥@NickCassidy_ closed the gap in the Drivers' Championship following an incredible display in Berlin!@SABIC #BerlinEPrix— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) April 23, 2023
As for the Championship Standings, the difficult double-header for Wehrlein left him on top of the pile but he only has now a narrow four-point margin to Cassidy, with Vergne third.
Following their troublesome Saturday round, TAG Heuer Porsche's advantage in the Teams' table also continued to evaporate on Sunday, with the Jaguar-powered Envision Racing squad now just 15 points back in second.