08 Jun 20

Race at Home Grand Final: Pascal Wehrlein's woe

"I got hit from behind and I spun, so there was nothing I could do. I think I did everything right from my side. I qualified ahead of my rivals and the start of the race was good."

Opening lap drama

Mercedes-Benz EQ racer Stoffel Vandoorne secured top honours in the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF yesterday with a second place finish in the Berlin Tempelhof Grand Final.

The Belgian took advantage of the misfortune befalling immediate rival Pascal Wehrlein - whose Mahindra Racing M6Electro was sent spiralling down the field to 21st after contact at turn two on the opening lap. 

Vandoorne's car was the one that collided with his rival, though there was nothing he could have done to prevent it. His Mercedes-Benz was nudged by Sebastien Buemi's Nissan e.dams', which was in turn shoved from behind by Edoardo Mortara's Venturi.

Blame could not confidently be attributed anybody's way. With the domino effect hitting the field as it funnelled through the opening complex of turns, contact became inevitable.

Title tilt

Wehrlein mounted his championship challenge through his sheer race pace. Though Vandoorne outscored him three-to-one on pole positions, the 25-year-old trumped his rival's victory count by the same multiple - no driver took to the top step on more occasions.

Wehrlein recovered from strife at the Electric Docks early on with two victories on the spin, including a maximum points-haul in Monaco, and followed up with podiums in Round 5 and 6.

The German then threw down the gauntlet ahead of the Grand Final with a commanding win around the virtual Brooklyn docklands, leapfrogging Vandoorne into a narrow, two-point standings lead. It looked to be well poised, in his favour.

Wehrlein: 'I did everything right'

Wehrlein gave it his best despite the bad luck in the finale, with pole preceeding clear pace on the fight-back back to P12 by lap three. 

Had he finished fifth, and secured a point by setting the fastest lap, Wehrlein would have sealed the series on countback of race wins.

As it was, that lap one drama proved too much to fight back from, and Vandoorne - as ever, having never fallen outside of the top five in a Race at Home encounter - was there to take advantage with double points on offer. 

"I have no issues at all!" said Wehrlein. "I got hit from behind and I spun, so there was nothing I could do. I think I did everything right from my side. I qualified ahead of my rivals and the start of the race was good.

"We had a good fight in the first and second corner but after that contact, the race for me was pretty much over. The sim will be picked up next week if I have time. I’m very busy with the simulator commitments I have with Ferrari and Mahindra Racing!

"I want to thank Formula E and the guys putting everything together and all the fans for the support. It’s been great fun and I’m hoping we’ve provided some great entertainment for everybody."

Re-watch the ABB Formula E Race at Home Chanllenge Grand Final in full!

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