BERLIN, Germany – Sebastien Buemi ended his Formula E win drought by claiming a controlled victory in Saturday’s Berlin ePrix to move to within one point of the lead of the drivers’ championship ahead of the final round in London at the beginning of July.
Starting second, Buemi managed to seize the lead from pole-sitter Jean-Eric Vergne at the first corner before enjoying a spirited battle with the Frenchman through the opening stages of the race.
An opportunistic pass at Turn 5 on lap six paid off for Buemi, putting him into a lead that he only relinquished through the pit stop phase.
The Renault e.dams driver’s advantage stood at 10 seconds after the car swaps, but a late safety car called for Loic Duval’s crash put him under pressure for the final two laps of the race.
However, Buemi was able to keep his cool and sweep to his third victory of the season, his first since the Punta del Este ePrix back in December.
Buemi will go to the final double-header round in London with only a one point deficit in the drivers’ championship after leader Lucas di Grassi could only finish third.
Di Grassi had qualified down in 10th place, but battled his way up into third ahead of the final two laps of green flag running.
The ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team gave di Grassi’s teammate, Daniel Abt, the call to move aside in second place and let the Brazilian past, only for the German to not adhere to this order for fear of losing a podium position.
Abt was able to cross the line second and record his best-ever result in Formula E, while di Grassi was forced to settle for third. He is also subject to a post-race investigation from the stewards for allegedly speeding under a full course yellow.
Nicolas Prost’s difficult run of form continued as he could only finish fourth in the second Renault e.dams car, while Vergne bounced back from losing his front wing just before the car swaps to finish fifth for DS Virgin Racing. Teammate Sam Bird had run with him up front early on, only to also sustain damage to his car that left him to settle for 11th at the flag.
Robin Frijns led Andretti’s charge in sixth place, and was joined in the points by teammate Simona de Silvestro as she recorded her second top-10 finish in Formula E by crossing the line ninth.
Nick Heidfeld charged from the back of the field after being excluded from qualifying to finish seventh ahead of Mike Conway, while Stephane Sarrazin’s pit lane start failed to hold him back too much as he picked up the final point for P10.