Updated: May 3
The SABIC Berlin E-Prix Round 7 had 190 overtakes, a record 23-at-the-line changes and eight different race leaders. (Photo: Simon Galloway)
BERLIN - Saturday's opening race of the ultra-competitive ABB FIA Formula E World Championship SABIC Berlin E-Prix saw teammates from Jaguar TCS Racing finish 1-2 at the Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit, with Mitch Evans taking the win and Sam Bird finishing second in Round 7.
It was truly a historic day for Jaguar, taking the top-two spots on the podium for the first time in Formula E. Evans won his second race of the season, going back-to-back after taking the checkered flag the last time out in the Sao Paulo E-Prix in late March.
"It’s an incredible feeling to get back-to-back wins, particularly in Formula E where it’s so challenging," Evans said. "I needed a couple of good races and this is exactly what the team delivered today in Berlin.
"There is still a long way to go this season but the main thing is we’re back in the hunt. Both Sam (Bird) and I are up there in the fight and we need to keep building on what we’ve achieved so far."
At the start of the race, a great launch from DS Penske's Stoffel Vandoorne, who attempted to get in between Sebastien Buemi and Bird but had to back off - only for Dan Ticktum to make a move around the outside to secure the lead. Ticktum held the lead for the rest of the first lap with a comfortable gap of eight-tenths, with Buemi running in second.
As Ticktum held the lead, his fellow racers used his slipstream to conserve energy, but Bird hit the front into Turn 1 and Vandoorne was next to get by Ticktum for second at the hairpin.
Max Günther, who had been battling with teammate Edoardo Mortara, sustained some damage to his Maserati. Then, Sergio Sette Camara lost his front wing after hitting the rear of Günther's car. Amid this chaos, Pascal Wehrlein remained steady and progressed up the leaderboard.
An incident in Turn 1 between Camara and Rene Rast brought out the yellow flag. With the pieces of Camara’s front wing still on the track from his earlier collision with Günther, the safety car was brought out but not before Mortara could take advantage of the chaos to execute 11 overtakes and secure second behind Jake Dennis.
Once the green flag waved again, Dennis took his second attack and slotted back in the pack for fifth. Meanwhile, Vandoorne stealthily progressed as he got by Ticktum for fourth at Turn 9, with Evans following suit.
On Lap 20, Ticktum squeezed Vandoorne into the wall, which resulted in contact that took both drivers out of points contention and the race. With the leaderboard in a constant state of change, due to the fierce competition and close racing, Nick Cassidy was pulled into the pits because of a suspected puncture after colliding with Ticktum earlier in the race.
Günther defended his position on Lap 29. Dennis, however, lost his rear after braking late, which put him in the wall but not before clipping Antonio Felix da Costa’s TAG Heuer Porsche and wrecking his suspension. This forced da Costa to retire from the race.
The Jaguar duo and Günther filled out the top-three spots on the podium after the Maserati driver briefly took the lead as the race headed into its closing stages. As the Jaguar-powered cars demonstrated their prowess, Günther's Maserati was left playing catch-up as Evans, Bird and Buemi fought for the win.
Evans managed to squeeze by Bird on the exit of the hairpin and got an advantage on the straight which propelled him into Turn 1 for the lead over Buemi as three additional laps were added to the race. At this point, Evans was able to pull away.
Meanwhile, Buemi had to fight off Bird as he challenged him for second - and ultimately, Bird’s incessant efforts paid off as he gave a huge send on Buemi in the Airplane Turn and secured second-place.
Jaguar's maiden 1-2 result in Formula E wouldn't be possible without Bird’s tenacity and meticulous driving maneuvers.
"We’ve made history again today," Bird said. "It’s the best result Jaguar TCS Racing had ever achieved and it’s huge credit to all of the amazing people that work in this team. I feel like we’ve been working towards this for a while now but to get back-to-back double podiums feels incredible."
However, Buemi’s bad luck didn’t end there as Günther fired up the inside of his Envision Racing car in the final turn to score his first points of the season.
Championship leader Wehrlein made up huge ground and ended the race in sixth, gaining six places and valuable points. Wehrlein heads into Round 8 on Sunday in Berlin leading Cassidy by 23 points.
SABIC Berlin E-Prix Round 7 Results:
(Photo: Formula E)