Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah/Michelin) followed up victory in qualifying for the Bern E-Prix with a flag-to-flag win that has extended his lead in the Drivers’ standings ahead of the 2018/2019 FIA Formula E Championship’s two-race finale in New York. The Frenchman was followed over the line in Switzerland by Mitch Evans (Panasonic Jaguar Racing), Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) and André Lotterer (DS Techeetah).
The first Formula E race to be hosted by the Swiss capital featured a fast but narrow 2.75km track which was also hilly, bumpy and technically challenging, prompting comparisons with the famous street circuit in Macao where it is notoriously hard to overtake.
Vergne, Evans and Buemi started from the front of the grid and consequently escaped a big pile-up at the first chicane which chiefly involved Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing), Max Gunther (Geox Dragon), Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Mahindra Racing) and Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing).
The incident brought out the red flags and the race was eventually restarted behind the Safety Car some 40 minutes later when the original grid order was reformed.
Vergne and Evans entertained spectators with a fierce fight for the lead, while local hero Buemi was never far behind as Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing) fought his way up to fourth place, chased by Lotterer.
Despite a short shower in the dying moments, Vergne held firm to claim his third win of the season, 0.160 and 0.720 seconds clear of Evans and Buemi, winner of last weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours.
Lotterer passed Bird on Lap 26 to finish just shy of the podium, with the top four blanketed by a mere 1.106s at the chequered flag.
It was a day to forget for Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler) who qualified 19
Formula E’s Season 5 will conclude with a double-bill finale in New York, USA, on July 13-14, with eight drivers mathematically still in contention for the 2018/2019 title!
Bern E-Prix – final positions:
1, Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah), 31 laps
2, Mitch Evans (Panasonic Jaguar Racing), +0.160s
3, Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams), +0.720s
4, André Lotterer (DS Techeetah), +1.106s
5, Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing), +2.996s
7, Daniel Abt (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler), +6.930s
8, Alex Lynn (Panasonic Jaguar Racing), +9.972s
9, Felipe Massa (Venturi Formula E Team), +12.310s
10, Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler), +13.073s