First Formula E race in Bern won by reigning champion Vergne

Vergne and his team extend championship lead heading into final two rounds

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By Olivier Ferret

22 June 2019 - 20:12
First Formula E race in Bern won by (...)

Reigning champion Vergne of DS TECHEETAH managed to win his third race in the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Starting from pole position, he held off the advances of Mitch Evans and extended his lead at the top of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship standings to 32-points over Lucas di Grassi - building a buffer before heading to New York.

Vergne led from lights-to-flag, but was hurried and hassled by Evans all the way to the chequered flag. The Panasonic Jaguar Racing pilot put pressure on Vergne, looming large in his mirrors, but was unable to pass with the Frenchman making his car as wide as possible.

Despite trying to take the initiative and activating ATTACK MODE earlier than expected, Vergne mirrored every move Evans made and hung on to victory with an assured and astute drive. Not even light rain in the latter stages could impact Vergne’s performance.

Sebastien Buemi brought his Nissan e.dams car home in third to round-out the podium places and receive the adulation of the Swiss fans. Buemi beat Andre Lotterer at the line, but Lotterer later dropped down the order after being handed a post-race time penalty for ignoring the red pit exit light. With Lotterer’s penalty applied, Sam Bird was promoted to fourth - making the most of his good fortune after suffering a puncture in the skirmish at the start, that eventually led to the race coming to a stop.

The race was temporarily suspended following a coming together at the first chicane, with Pascal Wehrlein and Maximilian Günther blocking the path of the majority of the pack - allowing Bird to return to the pits and change tyre.

Although he got caught-up in the first-corner collision, Günther gathered his composure and carried his car to a career-best fifth position. Daniel Abt was a place further back in sixth, ahead of Alex Lynn in seventh and Felipe Massa in eighth.

Lucas di Grassi leapt through the field to ninth after a lacklustre qualifying left him in a lowly grid slot. The final points-paying position was filled by Stoffel Vandoorne, who also vaulted up the order from 15th to 10th.

With the last race of the European leg coming to a close, Formula E heads across the Atlantic to New York City for round twelve and thirteen on 13 and 14 July – the season finale of the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

Quotes:

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS TECHEETAH:

“I arrived here like a zombie after Le Mans but nevertheless, I think the team helped me massively to do a good job. They gave me a fantastic car, especially in qualifying. At the end of the race I was definitely slower than Mitch - he was really on it! I wasn’t that fast, but I wasn’t taking any massive risks either, particularly in the last laps when the rain came. I couldn’t believe it… my engineers were telling me rain was coming and I could see the drops on my visor. Nothing is comfortable in Formula E and everything can change so quickly. It’s a good lead - it’s a bigger lead than the one I had last year - but I’m not thinking about it too much. I’ll arrive in New York with the same wish to win the race and do the job. Simple as that.”

Mitch Evens, Panasonic Jaguar Racing:

“It was actually harder than I expected. I was hoping it was going to be a bit of a slam dunk when I was on ATTACK MODE, but it didn’t really materialise. I was so close and I got a good overlap but it would’ve been quite risky to hang around the outside at Turn 3, or other places and he was defending well. JEV is a truly good defender and it would’ve meant taking a big risk to try and get by. I felt extremely fast today and I want to thank everyone in the team for handing me a great car and it feels great to be on the podium. But ultimately, I felt like I had the pace to win.”

Sebastien Buemi, Nissan e.dams:

“I think it was an amazing day for me, even if it’s only third place. It feels like a win - it was amazing to have my family here. I was told we had three per cent more energy but there isn’t much you can do here, it’s very difficult to overtake so you can’t take lots of risks and cause a crash. I decided to secure third place today and qualifying was the determining factor. In Berlin it was really easy to overtake. There it would have been a completely different outcome. However, here it is what it is, and we need to live with it. In New York it’s usually simpler to overtake… so it should make for a good final couple of races.”

Standings:

1 Jean-Eric Vergne DS TECHEETAH 1:25:26.873s
2 Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing +0.160s
3 Sebastien Buemi Nissan e.dams +0.720s
4 Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing +2.996s
5 Maximilian Gunther GEOX DRAGON +4.625s
6 Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler +6.930s
7 Alex Lynn Panasonic Jaguar Racing +9.972s
8 Felipe Massa VENTURI Formula E Team +12.310s
9 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler +13.073s
10 Stoffel Vandoorne HWA RACELAB +13.386s
11 Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport +14.714s
12 Antonio Felix da Costa BMW i Andretti Motorsport +18.917s
13 Jerome D’Ambrosio MAHINDRA RACING +21.872s
14 Andre Lotterer DS TECHEETAH +23.106s
15 Tom Dillmann NIO Formula E Team +40.084s
16 Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team +46.622s
17 Gary Paffett HWA RACELAB +1:22.512s
DNF Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 21 Laps
DNF Pascal Wehrlein MAHINDRA RACING 11 Laps
DNF Edoardo Mortara VENTURI Formula E Team 5 Laps
DNF Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing
DSQ Jose Maria Lopez GEOX DRAGON

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