Formula E crown to Mercedes’ de Vries as Nato wins Berlin finale

Sam Bloxham/Motorsport Images

Formula E crown to Mercedes’ de Vries as Nato wins Berlin finale

International Racing

Formula E crown to Mercedes’ de Vries as Nato wins Berlin finale

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Nyck de Vries (pictured above with Mercedes-EQ team principal Ian James) navigated a rollercoaster Season 7 finale in Berlin to become ABB FIA Formula E world champion. Norman Nato (ROKiT Venturi Racing) steered to a composed first series victory ahead of Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland and Stoffel Vandoorne, while Mercedes-EQ secured the teams’ championship.

With 13 drivers in title contention heading into the BMW i Berlin E-Prix presented by CBMM Niobium Round 15, and four in with a real strong shot of the title, the scene was set for a frenetic finale, and what we got was peak Formula E.

Right off the line, there was drama and heartbreak as Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) — perhaps the title favorite given his strong qualifying performance, while the rest of the contenders started outside the top 10 — failed to get away. The pack behind was forced into avoiding action but another championship protagonist in Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) couldn’t swerve clear of the stricken Jaguar and a violent crash saw the pair out of the running but thankfully unhurt.

That left Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) seemingly in prime position with standings leader de Vries down the order. Sensationally, before the field had made the first corner after a spell under the red flag while that startline accident was cleared, we lost another title contender as the Brit locked up into Turn 1 and hit the wall.

The pendulum swung again, with de Vries now sitting pretty and Mercedes-EQ looking odds-on to take teams’ honors with Vandoorne leading the pack away. Through the first round of Attack Mode activations, Nato made it count and strode clear having passed Vandoorne on lap 10, the Belgian’s late deployment of the 35kW power boost leaving him shuffled down the top six.

The scrap for points was fraught, and Mercedes’ haul, with de Vries also in the points and on the way to eighth, was enough to seal the teams’ title. A three-wide clash with the Porsches heading into the closing stages almost saw both de Vries and Vandoorne in contact but the pair steered clear.

Norman Nato (Venturi Racing) was untouchable Sunday on the Berlin airport circuit. Simon Galloway/Motorsport Images

Nato strode away and left the rest to it despite an interruption via a second safety car appearance as Antonio Felix da Costa was squeezed by Lucas di Grassi at the hairpin — confirming beyond doubt that the Portuguese would have to relinquish his crown. The Venturi racer drove on to a composed victory, with Rowland picking his way through to second while Vandoorne came home third.

Andre Lotterer took the checkered flag fourth ahead of Mahindra Racing’s Alex Sims, Pascal Wehrlein and a resurgent Sam Bird, who’d clambered from 22nd to seventh doing his valiant best for Jaguar Racing’s teams’ championship chances — a clear sign that with a bit more luck the Briton could have been right in the title mix this weekend.

De Vries followed battlescarred in eighth, with Rene Rast (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) tallying another TAG Heuer Fastest Lap as he soared from 19th to the points.

The final tall had de Vries taking home the drivers’ crown from Mortara and Dennis. Combined with teammate Vandoorne’s podium, that also saw Mercedes-EQ clinch the teams’ title ahead of Jaguar Racing and DS Techeetah.

“I’m lost for words. It’s been such a tough season with highs and lows,” related an emotional de Vries. “Everything came down to the last race and I think we had a lot of fortune on our side today with everything that happened. I’m glad that everyone is OK from the incident at the start.

“We had really good pace in the car, but at the same time, I felt like a target as well — it seemed like nobody was really respecting anything. So, at this point I just wanted to bring it home. My team were telling me to fight Jean-Eric Vergne, but I wasn’t sure why it was important, so I was getting frustrated that they didn’t want to tell me. Then the other drivers kept hitting me — left, right, front, rear. I wasn’t really happy with that, so I was a bit grumpy straight after the race. But now it’s starting to sink in.”

RESULTS:

1
Norman Nato
ROKiT Venturi Racing
1:11:57.152
(25)
2
Oliver Rowland
Nissan e.dams
+2.270s
(18)
3
Stoffel Vandoorne
Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team
+2.837s
(19)
4
André Lotterer
TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
+7.105s
(12)
5
Alexander Sims
Mahindra Racing
+8.453s
(10)
6
Pascal Wehrlein
TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
+8.847s
(8)
7
Sam Bird
Jaguar Racing
+10.473s
(6)
8
Nyck de Vries
Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team
+11.108s
(4)
9
René Rast
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
+12.189s
(3)
10
Tom Blomqvist
NIO 333 FE Team
+12.679s
(1)
11
Jean-Éric Vergne
DS TECHEETAH
+13.437s
(0)
12
Robin Frijns
Envision Virgin Racing
+13.748s
(0)
13
Alex Lynn
Mahindra Racing
+14.366s
(0)
14
Sébastien Buemi
Nissan e.dams
+14.692S
(0)
15
Maximilian Günther
BMW i Andretti Motorsport
+15.528s
(0)
16
Joel Eriksson
DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT
+15.940s
(0)
17
Nick Cassidy
Envision Virgin Racing
+16.306s
(0)
18
Sérgio Sette Câmara
DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT
+16.961s
(0)
19
Oliver Turvey
NIO 333 FE Team
+21.076s
(0)
20
Lucas di Grassi
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
+35.155s
(0)
DNF
António Félix da Costa
DS TECHEETAH
DNF
(0)
DNF
Jake Dennis
BMW i Andretti Motorsport
DNF
(0)
DNF
Mitch Evans
Jaguar Racing
DNF
(0)
DNF
Edoardo Mortara
ROKiT Venturi Racing
DNF
(0)
2020/21 ABB FIA FORMULA E WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
DRIVER STANDINGS
Nyck de Vries
Mercedes-EQ
99
Edoardo Mortara
ROKiT Venturi Racing
92
Jake Dennis
BMW i Andretti Motorsport
91
Mitch Evans
Jaguar Racing
90
Robin Frijns
Envision Virgin Racing
89
Sam Bird
Jaguar Racing
87
Lucas di Grassi
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
87
António Félix da Costa
DS TECHEETAH
86
Stoffel Vandoorne
Mercedes-EQ
82
Jean-Eric Vergne
DS TECHEETAH
80
Pascal Wehrlein
TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
79
Alex Lynn
Mahindra Racing
78
Rene Rast
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
78
Oliver Rowland
Nissan e.dams
77
Nick Cassidy
Envision Virgin Racing
76
Maximilian Günther
BMW i Andretti Motorsport
66
André Lotterer
TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
58
Norman Nato
ROKiT Venturi Racing
54
Alexander Sims
Mahindra Racing
54
Nico Müller
DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT
30
Sébastien Buemi
Nissan e.dams
20
Sérgio Sette Câmara
DRAGON / PESNKE AUTOSPORT
16
Oliver Turvey
NIO 333 FE Team
13
Tom Blomqvist
NIO 333 FE Team
6
Joel Eriksson
DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT
1
2020/21 ABB FIA FORMULA E WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
TEAM STANDINGS
Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team
181
Jaguar Racing
177
DS TECHEETAH
166
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
165
Envision Virgin Racing
165
BMW i Andretti Motorsport
157
ROKiT Venturi Racing
146
TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
137
Mahindra Racing
132
Nissan e.dams
97
DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT
47
NIO 333 FE TEAM
19

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