After leading every lap, in the intense ending of the e-prix, Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS Techeetah, led every lap to win the first race back to finish the 2020 season.
Prior to the COVID-19 hiatus, after he took the race win in Marrakesh – back in February, Da Costa managed to secure a 11-point lead (on 67 points) over Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, as we went to Berlin for the final chapter of the 2020 Formula-E championship.
The championship was showcased with a 9-6-3-1 format, where the final races were to be held over nine days, six races and three tracks to announce the 2020 Formula E champion.
After a good start, Da Costa remained in first place as the attack mode detection zone opened up – a section of track that was off the racing line that will allow a driver extra power for a certain amount of time – this zone was positioned at turn one, after the long straight, which made the drivers vulnerable to overtakes on the inside line.
With 33 minutes left of the race, Robins Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing, attempted an overtake around the outside of Maxmilian Gunther, BMW I Andretti Motorsport. However, he was pushed out into the wall which resulted in his car’s carbon fiber falling part. Before he could reach the pit lane, Frijns was forced to retire before the final corner which prompted the only safety car of the race.
On the restart, it wasn’t long until Sam Bird, Envision Virgin Racing, made an attempt to gain a position from Jermone D’Ambrosio, Mahindra Racing, on the inside line after the start-finish straight. This move saw him advance up into fifth place.
The fights began to become ever more tense between the drivers as Andre Lotterer, Tag Heuer Porsche, attempted to grab onto the attack mode but failed to obtain it. However, Nyck De Vries,Mercedes-Benz EQ, had managed to activate the extra power and managed to overtake Lotterer as we crept over the halfway mark.
Later on, on the entry of turn one – after a lock up by De Vries, Lotterer was able to regain his third place position as he chased after the young driver with the help from attack mode.
Felipe Massa, Rokit Venturi Racing, locked up and ended up in the barrier at turn six with just over 14 minutes remaining. As the Brazilian sat at the barrier for five minutes, he wasn’t able to remove his car from the track. Race control then decided to initiate a full course yellow – where the drivers drove at a slower speed.
Da Costa, the race leader who had led every lap, gained his final attack mode on the following lap after the restart. On this re-entry to the racing line, the leader went wheel-to-wheel with his teammate, Jean-Eric Vergne as he tried to avoid the barrier on his left-hand side. However, Vergne seemed to suffer with performance issues shortly after as he fell down the grid from second to sixth with three minutes to go. But in the end, he plummeted down the grid to finish in 20th after he clashed with Lucas Di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, in the final sector – and was not classified at the end of the e-prix.
In the conclusion, it was too close for comfort as Da Costa was left to coast over the finish line – to win the e-prix – as he had no more usable energy left.
- Antonio Felix Da Costa (DS Techeetah)
- Andre Lotterer (Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team)
- Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing)