2020/21 ROUND 8: BERLIN E-PRIX
PHOTO: formula e media
Perfectly executed race gives Cassidy a win in the second Berlin event
Frijns flew from pole with teammate Mueller matching him up - ABT CUPRA holding firm. Four title contenders came side-by-side, elbows out, in the battle for third spot with Buemi, Vergne, Evans and table topper Wehrlein scrapping for the advantage.
As in race one, early ATTACK MODE activations were the order of the day on Lap 3, as drivers looked to drop back into the pack and take advantage of the slipstream effect in conserving usable energy. Being in the lead at the right time, when it matters at the end, is the key.
The ABTs were first to jump with Frijns dropping to second and Mueller fifth. Buemi and Vergne followed, and when the initial round of ATTACK MODE played out, Frijns held the advantage, while Vergne had pipped Mueller for a net third - only temporarily though. Once Evans had jumped through the loop, Mueller was able to slice by Vergne into Turn 1 to briefly hit the front for the first time in Formula E before drivers started to take their second ATTACK MODE boosts.
Come Lap 11, polesitter Frijns had slipped to 11th spot, while Mueller was still in and around the race lead. Once the order started to shake out, he had both TAG Heuer Porsches - Wehrlein and da Costa - for company; the pair having started sixth and 10th respectively. ABT CUPRA's German driver managed to keep a hold of top spot while, on Lap 14, Sebastien Buemi made up two positions from sixth and teammate Cassidy did likewise.
From there, as in Round 7, there was scarcely a corner where several overtaking manoeuvres weren't being made with the top 15 split by four seconds and every team and driver looking to strike the balance between track position, pace and efficient driving - mixing it in the pack. In fact, the lead changed six times over the opening 12 laps.
On Lap 15, the Porsches did hit the front - Wehrlein from da Costa - before the latter took his second ATTACK MODE boost. One minute this time for the Portuguese, with the Envision Racing pair of Cassidy and Buemi splitting da Costa in fourth and Wehrlein in P1.
With the picture becoming clearer and the lead pack having used both of their mandatory 50kW ATTACK MODE activations, the Porsches held the advantage on Lap 19 with Vergne, Cassidy, Dennis - after a smart leap up the inside of Buemi at the hairpin - Buemi, Evans, Mueller, di Grassi and Vandoorne rounded out the top 10.
Progress didn't stop there for Dennis, with the second Envision of Cassidy his next victim at the Airplane turn on Lap 20. Vergne, meanwhile, made a move for P1 at Turn 1 on the Porsche pair. It lasted no more than a lap though, as they traded places once again with the DS PENSKE shuffled to third and Wehrlein leading da Costa out front. Unfortunately for Buemi, he tagged a car in that tight top 10 scrap - dropping from sixth to the back as his front wing got caught beneath his front wheels, forcing him into pitting.
With just four seconds between the top 15 runners, positions were changing left and right and lap by lap. On Lap 25, Cassidy headed the way having picked his moment to push to the front - the Porsches perhaps keen to play the long game as they dropped to fifth and sixth respectively.
Under the radar, Maximilian Guenther (Maserati MSG Racing) had made ludicrous progress - up from 21st on the grid to seventh on Lap 26, all while staying within a percent of usable energy of the front runners. Everyone from seventh and up had a real chance of mixing it for the race win on both pace and in their remaining energy.
Come Lap 28, Evans played the long game to make it by Wehrlein for fifth at Turn 4 - hanging on all the way around the outside of Turns 2 & 3. Cassidy radioed in to his engineer to say leading was "killing him" in terms of energy, but Dennis and da Costa were content to bide their time in the slipstream just behind. Evans' progress continued on Lap 29 - now fourth after dispatching Vergne. The Envision Racing driver was, however, managing things well - right with those just behind him; the I-TYPE 6 again proving quick and efficient.
As quickly as Evans made ground, he lost it. On Lap 31, Vergne squeezed back past his man as well as third-placed da Costa as he set about charging after the lead pair of Cassidy and Dennis - the DS PENSKE man picking his moment. Da Costa and Evans came to blows on Lap 35 at the hairpin, squeezing things up behind after the Jaguar driver had passed the Porsche for fourth - the Portuguese trying his hardest to take back the spot but indirectly causing teammate Wehrlein to be shuffled back to seventh spot.
On Lap 36, Cassidy led Dennis, Vergne, Evans, da Costa, Guenther, Wehrlein, Vandoorne, Mueller and Ticktum completed the top 10 with absolutely nothing splitting the top six in terms of time, pace or energy. The last four laps would be a monumental sprint to the finish in the fight for silverware.
It was risk versus reward into the final lap as the lead quartet scrapped flat out. Vergne in third and Evans in fourth slid wide and overcooked it at Turn 1, meaning it was Dennis on Cassidy for the win. The Envision Racing man had the advantage and made it count as he was able to hold fast for his second Formula E victory - some achievement given the length of time he was in the race lead.
Dennis followed him home less than half a second back, with Vergne completing the podium. Standings leader Wehrlein did end up seventh, as he was on Lap 35, while yesterday's race winner Evans rounded fourth for another strong points haul.
Report taken from: FormulaE.com