Mercedes-EQ's Nyck de Vries produced a comfortable, managed drive to the race win in the Shell Recharge Berlin E-Prix Round 8 at the reverse Tempelhof Airport Circuit, heading home ROKiT Venturi Racing's Edo Mortara and Mercedes-EQ teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.
Reigning champion de Vries powered to a consummate win at the scene of his Season 7 title triumph, with Mortara following 2.5s back as Saturday's windy conditions made way for weekend-high temperatures. The decisive move came at Turn 1 on the opening lap with the Dutchman flinging his Mercedes up the inside of Julius Baer Polesitter Mortara and second-placed Robin Frijns (Envision Racing) to take the pair and the lead, where he held fast until the chequered flag.
Vandoorne made it two Mercedes-EQ-run Silver Arrow 02 cars on the podium and three Mercedes-EQ powertrains in the top three. The Belgian's third-placed finish also extended his silverware streak to three races.
Lucas di Grassi (ROKiT Venturi Racing) came home fourth to extend that to four Mercedes-powered cars in the top four in a dominant outing for the three-pointed star on home soil.
Frijns wound up a battling fifth after a race-long back-and-forth between the Dutchman, Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH), who finished in sixth and a gaggle of cars behind - all fighting to maximise their points-haul as Season 8 passed its half-way stage.
Oliver Rowland (Mahindra Racing) made good progress from 10th at the outset to an eventual seventh - the Yorkshireman running as high as fifth at one stage. TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team's Andre Lotterer took the chequered flag in eighth position - not quite able to capitalise on practice and qualifying pace. Jean-Eric Vergne crossed the line a disappointing ninth, just ahead of fellow title challenger Evans who took the final point in 10th.
"We've had a bit of a difficult ride the past three races," said de Vries. "So, honestly I'm just very pleased to be here and to be back. Obviously it's a bit of an emotional one for me. It was the perfect way to come back after a difficult day yesterday and the work put in with my engineers to find positives. "Edo (Mortara) has been very strong all weekend so we definitely had to keep it clean, but the team managed very well on their side and I executed it, so I'm very pleased."
That left Vandoorne top of the Drivers' running on 111 points, with Mortara moving into second on 99 points and Vergne now third, a further four points back. Mercedes-EQ sit atop the Teams' standings on 176 points, with ROKiT Venturi Racing next on 148 points.
As it happened...
De Vries produced a mega start from third as the lights went out to jump both Frijns and polesitter Mortara as the Dutchman sent it up the inside at Turn 1 – assertive stuff from the reigning champion.
On Lap 7, championship rivals Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) and Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) had a brief spat, with the Kiwi taking advantage of the Frenchman’s early lack of pace to take eighth, with Oliver Rowland (Mahindra Racing) following through to shuffle the DS driver to 10th.
The opening throes were cagey, with temperatures up on Round 7 and little to no wind – a big change in conditions on Saturday’s race. Drivers seemed to be waiting for one-another to blink and leader de Vries was among the first to jump for the single mandatory ATTACK MODE boost. Da Costa in fifth, Lotterer sixth and Vandoorne seventh all followed, and while Mercedes-EQ man de Vries briefly lost his advantage out-front he immediately made it back by Mortara for the lead.
Twelve laps in, de Vries headed da Costa – the DS driver passing Mortara using his 30kW ATTACK MODE boost. Porsche’s Andre Lotterer found himself fourth, with Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) up two spots to fifth just ahead of ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Lucas di Grassi. Just behind that lead queue were Robin Frijns (Envision Racing) and Evans, scrapping between themselves for every advantage in the Drivers’ standings battle.
On the cusp of the top 10, it was Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) making moves. The Brit made up good ground early on and by Lap 15, he found a way by Vergne to break into the points.
On Lap 17, Vandoorne had passed Lotterer at Turn 1 to take a provisional spot on the podium, briefly, before Mortara made it beyond the Mercedes-EQ through his ATTACK MODE boost to third with the Venturi driver’s teammate di Grassi following – shuffling Vandoorne back to fourth in the blink of an eye.
From there, Mortara continued to make strides, taking second spot from da Costa. Once again di Grassi also capitalised – the ROKiT Venturi Racing duo working in tandem and now second and third, respectively.
At the head of the field at the half-way stage, de Vries’ lead stoof at a healthy two seconds. In-behind, Mortara opened another couple of seconds to di Grassi who had another second in hand himself on Frijns. Da Costa had Vandoorne for company as the Season 6 champion fended off the current standings leader in the scrap for sixth. Lotterer, Rowland – a climber from 10th at the start – Evans and Vergne completed the top 10.
Instead of looking in his mirrors, da Costa activated FANBOOST to pinch fourth from Frijns at the hairpin, though Vandoorne did manage to follow and once again set about the Portuguese. On Lap 26, he did make a move stick and made it four Mercedes powertrains in the top four – de Vries from Mortara, di Grassi and Vandoorne.
The top 10 sat as you were for much of the final 15 minutes with de Vries managing a 2.5-second gap in the lead. Meanwhile, Rowland continued his progress with a move on da Costa for fifth into Turn 7.
Inside the final two minutes, di Grassi became marginal on usable energy, opening the door for Vandoorne to pinch third at Turn 5. A little further back, da Costa jumped Rowland for fifth – repaying the earlier favour – with Frijns following to shuffle the Mahindra driver to seventh. Envision’s Dutchman wasn’t done there, bumping by da Costa on the final lap to steal fifth.
De Vries powered to a measured win, with Mortara following 2.5s back. Vandoorne made it two Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 cars on the podium and three Mercedes powertrains in the top three. Di Grassi came home fourth to extend that to four for the three-pointed star in a dominant outing.
Frijns wound up a battling fifth, da Costa sixth, Rowland seventh, Lotterer eighth, Vergne a disappointing ninth and fellow title challenger Evans taking the final point in 10th.
Published on 15th May 2022