Sebastien Buemi has extended his lead in the 2016/17 FIA Formula E Championship to 32 points after picking up his 12th career win in the all-electric single-seater series.
However, the Renault e.dams driver was not first across the line around the revamped Tempelhofring airfield circuit, but when on-the-road winner Felix Rosenqvist was given a 10-second penalty for an unsafe release in the pits, he was there to pick up the pieces.
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 super fan James Harmon, creating an emotional coda to a fantastic event.
After taking his maiden win in first 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 team-mate 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.
But 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.
Third 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 team-mates banged wheels, which sent Sam Bird off the track and into the run off area.
Di Grassi then picked off the second DS of Jose Maria Lopez with a nice move, before entering into a long, entertaining battle with the TECHEETAH of Jean-Eric Vergne. Di Grassi eventually found a way by the Frenchman to end the weekend with a second podium finish.
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. Lopez 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 ground-breaking event that is taking motorsport to the unofficial capital city of the world for the very first time. Don’t miss it!
2017 Berlin ePrix (Rd 8) – Race results
1. Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams, 56:02.155s (25)
2. Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing, +7.195s (21)
3. Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, +10.862s (15)
4. Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, +13.631s (12)
5. Jose Maria Lopez, DS Virgin Racing, +20.324s (10)
1. Sebastien Buemi – 157 points
2. Lucas di Grassi – 125 points
3. Felix Rosenqvist – 86 points
4. Nicolas Prost – 72 points
5. Nick Heidfeld – 63 points
1. Renault e.dams – 229 points
2. ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport – 171 points
3. Mahindra Racing – 149 points
4. DC Virgin Racing – 97 points
5. TECHEETAH – 57 points