We're just over a third of the way through the season, but in the last three races a clear top four have emerged in the fight for the 2021/22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Only 10 points separate Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ), Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH), Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) and Robin Frijns (Envision Racing), but there is then a 22 point gap back to Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) in fifth. In the last three races, only those four drivers have stood on the podium. In addition, those four drivers have all finished the last three races in the top five, and in two of the last three races they have filled the top four positions at the end of the race.
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The only real potential exception to this rule is Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche). Had he not broken down from the lead in Monaco we could well be looking at a top five. Unfortunately for the German, he did break down, and he isn’t in the top four.
So let’s break down the top four’s season so far, one by one.
Let’s start with the championship leader, Vandoorne. I spoke to him earlier today, (Thursday) and asked him why he was quite so emotional after winning in Monaco. He said it was a mixture of things, what with Monaco being his home race and having all his friends and family there, but also the relief after a difficult start to the season.
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That perhaps seems an odd thing to say about the man who arrived in Monaco four points off the Drivers' standings lead, but let’s not forget Vandoorne took pole in Diriyah for the opening race of the season, and was controlling it until he missed ATTACK MODE, costing him the win. Then there were zero points in Mexico City, and another fade from pole in the first Rome race. Add that to his utterly unlucky Season 7, and the relief was clear to see in Monaco.
Vergne is second in the standings, and is yet to win a race this season. He looked at one point like winning in Mexico City, but that challenge faded to a third place. His second position in Monaco was a pretty distance one to Evans, but this is a two time champion who cannot be discounted - and he's the only driver to have finished in the points at every round in Season 8.
Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) is on a roll after that Rome win-double
Evans is third in the standings and the man in form. Admittedly, he didn’t manage to secure three wins in a row, something only two drivers have done before him, but two wins, a pole and a second place are not a bad return for three races. He scored one point in the first three races, then 71 in the second three!
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Frijns is lurking in fourth in the standings. He also has not won a race this season, and – as I wrote in my last piece – has never quite looked like winning a race this season. He said today that he never thinks about the championship, but just wants to win each race. I don’t particularly believe him. He is in title contention and will be focussed on not having as difficult a weekend as Envision Racing did last year.
We are still not even at the halfway point of the season, but a Berlin double-header on a difficult concrete surface could be a crucial weekend for those who get it right, and those who get it wrong.