FE: Gunther wins in Berlin, going side by side to the line with Frijns

BMW i-Andretti young gun Max Gunther fought valiantly to take the win at the third Berlin E-Prix, on the traditional layout of the Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit.

Gunther looked like the strongest front runner throughout the race and made a late move on reigning champ and pole-sitter Jean-Eric Vergne to take the lead after being in his slipstream since lap 1.

Robin Frijns came on strong in the last five minutes however and after clearing Vergne, he tried to force himself past Gunther, aided by more energy.

But despite getting alongside Gunther three times in the final lap and going side by side to the line, Frijns couldn’t do it and still took a very well earned second place for the Virgin driver.

Vergne took third fending off his teammate, championship leader Antonio Felix Da Costa on the final lap as he attempted to conserve energy.

Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE20
Jean-Eric Vergne leading Gunther – Credit: FIA Formula E

The fight for the lead really came to a head at the end of the race but it was hinted at all race, Gunther had a poor start and had to fight with the two Mahindras in the early stages eventually getting past and being able to keep Vergne in check.

Gunther then went aggressive on Attack Mode forcing Vergne’s hand but was not able to pass both times, eventually just passing on pure pace after a superb move getting the switchback after forcing Vergne to defend into turn seven and going side-by-side out of the corner to seal the lead.

Maximilian Günther (DEU), BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.20
The next time round – Gunther in the lead – Credit: FIA Formula E

The race had started quite sedately by Formula E standards, but about 15 minutes into the race, a safety car was called because of the damaged cars of Sergio Sette Camara and Neel Jani.

Sette Camara had gone for a late defensive move on Alex Sims and overshot, touching the Jaguar of James Calado ahead of him. This tipped Calado round and forced a chain reaction for the drivers behind trying to avoid.

Sette Camara knocked off his front suspension, tapping Calado and to avoid swinging round and causing a larger incident, he slammed on the brakes. He tapped Mitch Evans and then came to a standstill taking Jani by surprise who rammed into him and was put out of the race.

After the safety car, frenetic Formula E resumed with divebombs all over the place into turn seven and some high quality racing from the experienced drivers of Da Costa and Andre Lotterer allowing them to move up the field throughout the race.

The highlight move from Da Costa being a very competent lunge on Alex Lynn’s Mahindra eventually allowing him to head up the road to fight for the podium.

Lotterer eventually came home fifth, on the heels of the two DS Techeetahs. Oliver Rowland was in sixth unable to attack at the end to conserve energy.

D’Ambrosio took another points position in seventh achieving a good result for the inefficient Mahindra and then a five second gap back to Lucas Di Grassi who was in the wars all race getting punted after a late defence on Felipe Massa early in the race no least of his troubles. Massa eventually received a drive-through-penalty for the move.

Mitch Evans had a good drive to climb up the order but still not replicating his performance from the early part of the season. Alex Sims eventually rounded out the points after some committed racing with the Audis late in the race.

Sebastien Buemi was just outside in 11th ahead of Nico Muller and Sam Bird.

Edo Mortara took 14th and was followed by Daniel Abt, Nyck De Vries and Oliver Turvey.

Alex Lynn fell back after a very good grid position and was in 18th ahead of the penalised Felipe Massa, the last finisher.

Rene Rast retired late on as well as Stoffel Vandoorne after collecting damage fighting in the mid pack.

Calado, Jani and Sette Camara were the other non classified cars.

Position Driver Team
1 Max Gunther BMW-i Andretti Motorsport
2 Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing
3 Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah
4 Antonio Felix Da Costa DS Techeetah
5 Andre Lotterer Tag Heuer Porsche
6 Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams
7 Jerome D’Ambrosio Mahindra Racing
8 Lucas Di Grassi Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler
9 Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing
10 Alex Sims BMW-i Andretti Motorsport
11 Sebastien Buemi Nissan e.dams
12 Nico Muller GEOX Dragon
13 Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing
14 Edoardo Mortara ROKiT Venturi Racing
15 Daniel Abt NIO 333 Racing
16 Oliver Turvey NIO 333 Racing
17 Alex Lynn Mahindra Racing
18 Nyck De Vries Mercedes-Benz EQ
19 Felipe Massa ROKiT Venturi Racing
Not Classified Rene Rast Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Not Classified Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes-Benz EQ
Not Classified James Calado Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Not Classified Sergio Sette Camara GEOX Dragon
Not Classified Neel Jani Tag Heuer Porsche