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Vergne: Victory out of reach for DS Virgin Racing in Berlin

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BERLIN, Germany – Jean-Eric Vergne felt content with fifth place in the Berlin ePrix despite starting the race from pole position, deeming that victory was out of reach for DS Virgin Racing on Saturday.

Vergne stormed to his first Formula E pole position in almost a year in qualifying, but lost out to eventual winner Sebastien Buemi in the early stages of the race.

Despite losing the majority of his front wing towards the end of the first stint, Vergne managed to battle his way to fifth place at the flag.

Vergne said that he was pleased with his result given the pace of the Renault e.dams and ABT cars as the title-fighting teams locked out the top four positions in Berlin.

“No it was not a missed opportunity. I think it was a great day,” Vergne told NBC Sports after the race.

“Obviously you start from pole, you want to be winning the race. But Paris to here, the track was more or less the same length, but you had four more laps. With our car, race energy was way too difficult.

“I tried to attack as much as I could today. I was extremely aggressive, even sometimes a bit too much. The two DAMS and the two ABTs were way too quick today.

“There was nothing I could have done to stop them. I tried as much as I could, but I couldn’t do any more. The pace was simply not there compared to those guys today. Maybe if there had been less laps it would have been a different story like in qualifying.”

Vergne said that the whole DS Virgin Racing team was happy with the weekend despite going from first and fourth on the grid to only bring home 10 points after an unplanned pit stop resigned Sam Bird to an 11th-place finish.

“The whole team was really happy with the weekend, especially qualifying,” Vergne said.

“I think we outperformed, so that was amazing, amazing feeling, really nice. P5 is the best we could have done.

“Considering the two teams ahead have two good drivers, I think today in the race they clearly had a better day. I did the job. I tried my max to block them. I was really aggressive in trying to do so.

“Therefore I’m really happy with fifth position. If we had the car to win and we don’t win, clearly we’re going to be disappointed, but today there is no reason to be disappointed.”

WATCH: Red Bull F1 team completes pit stop in zero gravity

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The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.

With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.

Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.

With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.

“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!

“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”

Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.

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