Sebastien Buemi’s one-day dip in luck took a swing back on Sunday in the second Berlin ePrix round of the FIA Formula E Championship season, as the Renault e.dams driver took his sixth win on the season in eight races.
Buemi was excluded from Saturday’s race owing to illegal tire pressures, after driving from 14th to sixth place on the road. That became fifth following a five-second time penalty assessed to Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne for an unsafe release from his pit stop.
Yet it was unsafe release that switched the outcome and the results around on Sunday, with race one winner Felix Rosenqvist issued a 10-second time penalty from the stewards for an unsafe release from his stop.
But Rosenqvist was released into the path of teammate Nick Heidfeld, who was pitting from 13th place, which forced Heidfeld around the outside of Rosenqvist and nearly into another team’s pit gantry. Heidfeld stopped his car without contact while Rosenqvist, despite being held up, still exited the pits ahead of Buemi.
The penalty assessed to Rosenqvist meant he would need to push even harder to ensure a 10-second gap to then-third placed Lucas di Grassi of ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport was still there, even though he won on the road.
So while Rosenqvist was first across the line, it was Buemi who was the winner on the day.
“It was a bit on a plate (with the penalty) but I’m really happy,” Buemi told Formula E’s Dario Franchitti on the cooldown lap.
Di Grassi came third following a sterling move on Vergne for third into Turn 1 on Lap 33, aided in part by FanBoost but with Vergne unable to defend. It was a move Daniel Abt, di Grassi’s teammate, wasn’t able to repeat a lap later before Vergne started to fall further back in the later stages of the race.
Abt did make it through eventually with Jose Maria Lopez also doing so on Lap 40 in his DS Virgin Racing entry to complete the top five.
Sam Bird, Lopez’s teammate, was next to take a run at Vergne over the next several laps with Nico Prost of Renault e.dams having a front row seat to the battle. But Vergne held off Bird and Prost for sixth.
Oliver Turvey was ninth for NEXT EV NIO while Heidfeld ended 10th in the final points paying position.
Rosenqvist wasn’t the only one penalized on the day. Faraday Future Dragon Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio received a drive-through penalty for his pit stop not meeting the minimum required time on pit lane. That brought Heidfeld, who’d started last and risen as high as 10th in the first stint but used more energy doing so, back to the final points paying position in 10th.
In a cool touch of fan engagement, Formula E gave one lucky fan the chance to present the podium finishers with their trophies after the race.
The New York City ePrix from the Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn is next, July 15-16. Like Berlin this weekend, it’s a doubleheader weekend.
Buemi entered the day with a 22-point lead over di Grassi and will gain 10 points back with the 25-15 points score this race. The Swiss driver is not expected to race in New York, owing to his FIA World Endurance Championship commitments the same weekend at the Nürburgring with Toyota Gazoo Racing.