Lucas di Grassi took the ABB Formula E championship win today in Berlin — a victory on home turf for Audi — while Nissan e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi held on for second ahead of reigning champion and DS Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne.
Starting from the pole, Buemi led away as former champ di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler), eager to climb up from his third-place start, passed HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne in Turn 6 just five minutes into the race, and the leaders pulled clear.
With 20 minutes remaining, BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Antonio da Felix Costa moved up to second and was soon challenging di Grassi in his Audi while Buemi followed in third.
Buemi soon engaged his FANBOOST to regain the ground he had lost, though, and quickly overtook da Costa to move back into second. But with just 10 minutes remaining, Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Alex Lynn stopped on track on the start/finish line, reporting rear axle issues.
Following a full-course yellow deployed while Lynn’s stricken car was recovered, the racing restarted with nine di Grassi and Buemi still 1-2 but shuffling down the order. Both DS Techeetah drivers had made up ground through the middle of the race, and Vergne was suddenly challenging for the podium, taking da Costa on the inside of Turn 10 to move up into third.
Further back, Vergne’s teammate Andre Lotterer was in trouble: Having made up 10 places since the start, the German driver sadly found himself in the pits with a battery issue, ending his home race early.
With one lap to go, Buemi had his hands full fending off Vergne in third as di Grassi led to the cheers of an enthusiastic German crowd in his Audi e-tron FE.05.
There was one final challenge from Vergne, but Buemi defended, leading the Frenchman across the finish line to finish second behind the Audi.
The victory in front of its home crowd was the German automaker’s 12th Formula E win and 40th podium in 55 races.
“An amazing race for Audi,” said former champ di Grassi. “It was a very strategic race with a lot of energy saving and our cars seemed very efficient today, so I’m super happy. It just shows that you have to work hard and do the best you can — surprises can come and this is a very nice surprise to me.”