22 Jun 19

Vergne victorious in frantic battle for Bern ahead of Championship finale

Jean-Eric Vergne scoops another victory in a frantic battle on the streets of Bern. Evans challenges for the lead but settles for second and home race hero Buemi makes the podium in third. Here's how the race unfolded.

Starting from Pole, DS Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne lad the pack around the 2.750km, the 14-turn "rollercoaster" of a track in the heart of Bern, followed by Panasonic Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans and home race hero Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) in third. 

Seconds in, a jam at Turn 1 caused by a collision between Mahindra Racing's Pascal Wehrlein and Geox Dragon's Max Gunther brought out the red flag, pausing play. Involved in the incident after he was shunted by Mahindra's Jerome d'Ambrosio, Envision Virgin Racing's Robin Frijns was left stranded on track with a broken drivetrain, ending his race almost before it had even started.

Having cleared the track, the remaining cars returned to the pit lane to repair the damage, reorder (as they started the race) and restart behind the BMW i8 Safety Car with 44 minutes left on the clock.

Back in the action, Vergne led Evans and Buemi while Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler's Lucas di Grassi battled at the back in a bid to clime through the pack. Pulling away from Buemi's dual-motor Nissan, Vergne and Evans battled for the lead. 

Attempting to pass race leader Vergne on Turn 3 downhill, Evans backed off before heading into the chicane, keeping close to the reigning champion. Further down the pack, Jaguar driver Alex Lynn engaged ATTACK MODE by passing through the ATTACK MODE Activation Zone between Turn 8 and 9. Each driver can use ATTACK MODE twice, with each activation lasting four minutes. 

Battling for fifth, Envision Virgin Racing's Sam Bird took Gunther in an ambitious move on Turn 3. With Gunther down to sixth, Bird focused on working his way further forward. 

Slowing on track, Pascal Wehrlein ground to a halt just after Turn 8. Under a Full Course Yellow, the Mahindra driver's car was pulled off track. With the pack regrouped, Buemi was back behind Evans having successfully defended his podium position while Sam Bird had made it into fourth. 

Still intent on taking the lead, Evans attacked Vergne again on Turn 3. Unable to pass, the Kiwi stuck to his tail hoping for another opportunity.

Making use of his FANBOOST, home race hero Buemi attempted to take Evans for second place with less than seven minutes left until the end of the race. Behind Bird in fourth, Lotterer had made his way into fifth. Reliving former rivalries following a battle in Hong Kong earlier in the season, Lotterer went on the attack, determined to take Bird as retribution for the damage he sustained in Asia. Eventually slipping past him on Turn 7, Lotterer took fourth with a podium position in mind.

In the final seconds, heavy rain led to slippery conditions as Vergne desperately tried to retain his lead and get across the line despite Evans continuing to attack. Drifting through the corners, the top four went nose to tail across the finish line with Vergne first, Evans second and Buemi leading Lotterer in third and fourth. 

Across the line, the reigning champion was verbally relived as he brought his car back to the pit lane having significantly extended his lead ahead of the final in New York City.  

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See the full results from the 2019 Julius Baer Swiss E-Prix in Bern