Mercedes-EQ's Stoffel Vandoorne pulled a double podium out of the bag in Berlin to consolidate his Drivers' World Championship lead on a strong weekend for the Silver Arrows.
The Belgian, as well as teammate and reigning champion Nyck de Vries, looked to be struggling through the early laps in Round 7 from Tempelhof. Vandoorne had slipped to 12th, and in the bustle of mid-pack, having failed to progress further than the Quarters in the qualifying Duels.
Vandoorne produced one of the drives of the day to recover. The Belgian had slipped back beyond six by the halfway stage and looked as good a bet as any for the race win. Ultimately, he had to settle for third after another back-and-forth with Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) and while the lead pair fought each other but that was enough to see the Mercedes-EQ driver hold on to the standings lead. It's some run he's putting together, and with more than half the season now gone - it's becoming an increasing marker in the title race.
"What really matters is that we had an amazing recovery, coming from the back and showing incredible pace," said the 30-year-old. "To get ourselves back on the podium was very satisfying and it’s the real positive to take away.
"We’ve just got to keep scoring. In this championship you just need to keep battling away and keep scoring - it’s so important. I’ve been battling with JEV in every race now and we’ve been overtaking each other and defending from each other – it just shows how close everything is at the moment.
"We started the season dominant in Saudi and we went through a bit of a slump but now, we’re back. It’s not straightforward. There’s a lot of hard work going into this and Berlin is one of those circuits where you never really know what’s going to happen. Historically, we’d been quite good at Tempelhof but there’s never a guarantee as there are always so many changing conditions – the tyres are always a big talking point here.
"I’m very pleased we managed to get through the weekend with two podiums. It was planned. I wanted to have a go [at passing di Grassi, in Round 8] in Turn 1 but he made it clear he was going to defend so I thought I’ll just wait it out a bit and for my moment to come again. I caught him a bit by surprise, which was a difficult move to pull off with not much room there. We kept it clean and I made it through.
"Next up, it's a completely different circuit – I don’t even know what it looks like at the moment. I’ve been to Jakarta before and it’s usually very hot and humid there, so it’s going to be a challenging one. So far, I don’t know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to it."
Published on 18th May 2022
3 min read