In a heated battle for Berlin, it was Julius Baer polesitter and ROKiT Venturi Racing driver Edoardo Mortara who fended off DS TECHEETAH's Jean-Eric Vergne's attack to emerge victorious in the first race of the Berlin double-header weekend. In the drivers' words, here's how the action unfolded.
"What a day!" said a visibly relieved Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) after a convincing near lights-to-flag win in Berlin, coming off the back of the seasoned Formula E driver's first Julius Baer Pole Position in his ABB FIA Formula E World Championship career. "My first pole in Formula E. I was waiting for that for quite some time," he said with a smile.
While clearly delighted with his points haul - 28, including his pole and win - the relief was in response to surviving an attack from a determined Jean-Eric Vergne, who attempted to take the lead in the final moments of the race.
"It was busy race - a lot of things happened," said the DS TECHEETAH driver after stepping off the podium in front of the crowd at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport. "I tried to give it a go on Edo but clearly his mirrors were working quite well, so he saw me coming," he joked.
With just under two minutes plus one lap to go, Mortara was hoping he'd be home and dry, only a last minute advance from Vergne saw him momentarily slip ahead in a beautifully executed overtake on the inside of Turn 6, before Mortara quickly gained his lead again. The Swiss looked to have lured the Frenchman in for a go, deliberately or not, it worked out.
Taking advantage of the situation unfolding in front of him, Mercedes-EQ's Stoffel Vandoorne gained on Vergne, sticking close to the Frenchman but, ultimately, failing to pass him.
"I still had to try - I was not going to sit there and just be happy with second, so I had to try something but it failed and then it was quite tight with Stoffel (Vandoorne)," explained Vergne.
"First, my target was to win and then the threat was coming from behind, so I had to watch out for stuff but I'm happy with second and another podium, and more points. Hopefully the more the better but still, it would be nice to win a race this year!"
For Mortara, the Venturi driver he kept a cool head to fend off Vergne, maintaining he was well-prepared for the Frenchman's advances.
"He tried to overtake me but I was anticipating it," said Mortara immediately after the race. "Luckily for me he couldn't really stop for the apex of the corner and I could repass him straight away.
"I knew that after that he had spent quite a bit of energy, so it would have been very difficult for him to pass me again."
With Vergne's lunge rebuffed, the ROKiT Venturi Racing driver's win was all but secured as he pulled away, safe in the knowledge that Vergne's energy levels would curtail his chances of another attack.
"We were already very happy but this race was amazing - very stressful, obviously because we had different strategies and I had to defend but in the end everything went alright and I'm mega happy.
"Today we had a great car - it was competing very well also in push laps in qualifying and I think that we will try to have this again tomorrow.
"Tomorrow there is another race and this is the difficult part of these double-race weekends - you need quickly to forget what happened today and focus on tomorrow, because it's as important as this one," said Mortara, still clutching his hard-earned silverware.
Published on 14th May 2022