Throughout the entire race distance, some 43 laps, the field, never mind the top 10, proved to be completely inseparable. A record number of different drivers hit the front as strategies split - with the early front-runners electing to jump for ATTACK MODE early on and those further back running longer. Dan Ticktum (NIO 333) had launched into the lead in style with a stunning move around the outside of Turn 1, right by Julius Baer Polesitter Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing), Sam Bird (Jaguar TCS Racing) and Stoffel Vandoorne (DS PENSKE).
After the lead group jumped for their second 50kW boosts, things settled for three laps before Edoardo Mortara (Maserati MSG Racing) and Vandoorne pushed to the front. Glancing at the timing screens yielded a different race leader at almost every stage as positions changed left and right, with the first of two spells under the Safety Car compounding things further and seeing the field split by just over five seconds at a little over the halfway stage.
Quick-starting Ticktum had been shuffled into the top 10 and both he and Vandoorne were removed from the occasion in contact, throwing Safety Car number two. The Jaguar pair and Buemi then clambered to fill out the top three spots after Guenther had briefly taken P1 as the race headed into its closing stages. The Jaguar-powered cars went on to stretch their legs, with Guenther looking to pick up the pieces as the front three squabbled for the race lead.
Evans managed to squeeze by second-placed Bird on the exit of the hairpin and got a good run down the start/finish straight - good enough to make a lunge into Turn 1 stick for the lead on Buemi as the race headed into three added laps. The Kiwi was able to get the jump and run away - pulling out a 0.750s lead with two full tours remaining as Bird hassled Buemi for second just behind in the sprint to the finish.
Bird's incessant efforts paid off as he gave it a huge send on Buemi into the Airplane turn for second spot on the final tour - enough to do the job and seal the team's first one-two in Formula E. Guenther broke the Jaguar stranglehold as he fired it up the inside of Buemi at the final turn to prevent a second consecutive 1-2-3 for the I-TYPE 6, not that the factory Jaguar TCS Racing squad will grumble. That marked the German's first points of the season.
Standings leader Pascal Wehrlein started all the way down 15th, and made up huge ground before slipping to ninth late on. Out of sight, the TAG Heuer Porsche driver made up good ground on that final lap to wind up sixth - nine places and strong points gained, nullifying Nick Cassidy's comparitively quiet and collected run to fifth position for Envision Racing. Jean-Eric Vergne (DS PENSKE) recovered from contact early-race to seventh spot, again, another important if unsung drive in the battle for points.
All that meant Wehrlein heads into Round 8 tomorrow in Berlin with the standings lead and 94 points. Cassidy now sits second with Vergne doing enough to retain third position. TAG Heuer Porsche's early season dominance is coming under severe pressure from the Jaguar-powered cars. Just eight points total means 152 points and the top of the table, though Envision Racing's 25-point haul and Jaguar TCS Racing's huge 43-point score seeing them close in, in second and third respectively.
We're back at the same time tomorrow afternoon for Round 8 of the season from Berlin's Tempelhof Airport Circuit.
As it happened...
Off the line, Ticktum swept around the outside of the lead trio into Turn 1 and made a stunning move stick into Turn 2, with Buemi, Bird and Vandoorne caught out - the latter had looked himself as if he'd take the lead after a strong start, before thinking twice about attempting the pass into that tight opening complex.
As early as Lap 3, Ticktum, Buemi and Vandoorne went for their initial of two mandatory 50kW ATTACK MODE boosts - of just one minute this time. Bird and Guenther followed suit a lap later, the lead group electing for a one and three minute activation given the choice; the other options being two two-minute boosts and a three and one minute boost in that order.
Come Lap 5, Ticktum and Buemi, then Bird once again a lap later, took their second ATTACK MODE activation of three minutes - getting them in early seemed to be the preferred option. Pundit Karun Chandhok suggested the race would be tight on energy come the closing stages, seeing most elect to take their boosts early and make use of the additional power while they could. Allan McNish in the commentary box added that battery temperature used to be a limiting factor around Berlin in GEN2 - with temperatures usually rising as the race progresses.
Once it shook out up front on Lap 8, it was as you were at the top with Ticktum heading Buemi, Bird, Vandoorne, Dennis, Guenther, Cassidy, Sette Camara, Mortara and Evans completing the top 10 with just three seconds between them. It was a real traffic jam in there, with the Maserati MGS Racing pair making contact before Mortara broke free to tear through the pack and into the lead with a dive up the inside of Vandoorne at the hairpin. That lead pair would be pushed back into the mix as they jumped through the ATTACK MODE loop - Mortara into P2 and Vandoorne P5 - just prior to the Porsche Taycan Safety Car hit the circuit to see Sette Camara and Rast cars recovered after a coming-together saw them stricken - the German tagging the Brazilian's NIO into a spin to the back of the pack.
On Lap 16, positions were shuffling constantly in the mid-points-paying positions as just five seconds split the top 17 runners. Mortara had retaken the lead with Evans, Dennis, Buemi, Bird, Vandoorne, Ticktum, Guenther, Vergne and Wehrlein filling the top 10. A lap later, Evans in the Jaguar then inherited P1 as Dennis and Mortara took their second 50kW boosts but he had yet to take either of his ATTACK MODE activations. Andre Lotterer (Avalanche Andretti) made his way into the top 10 briefly, and almost immediately had a clash with Vergne - removing the DS PENSKE driver from ninth and dropping the Frenchman 10 positions down the order with the resulting half spin.
Lap 20 saw an unsighted Ticktum squeeze Vandoorne into the wall - with the resulting damage enough to see both drivers out of the points and the race, requiring another appearance for the Safety Car. Three laps later, it was all-change at the front once again. Guenther and both the Jaguars - Evans then Bird - filling the provisional podium positions with Mortara, Buemi and Dennis rounding out the top six. The order changed as quickly as the laps were disappearing, though. The Jaguar pair then stole the initiative for a potential one-two as it stood on Lap 27. Buemi made it a trio of Jaguar I-TYPE 6's once again on the provisional podium after that 1-2-3 in Sao Paulo. A lap later, Buemi made it by the two of them for P1 into Turn 1.
Lap 29 saw da Costa's rise continue apace, as high as fourth as he squeezed out Guenther at Turn 2 before making it by Dennis later on the same tour from 19th. That wasn't it for the trio, though, as Guenther looked to defend under braking at the Airplane, with Dennis late on the brakes, losing the rear before finding the wall in contact - da Costa was caught up by the stray Andretti, too. The Porsche driver's miraculous climb was ended unceremoniously, as he was forced into retirement with damage. His teammate and standings leader Pascal Wehrlein, meanwhile, had sneaked as high as fifth position from a distant 15th on the grid - the standings leader quietly going about his business. He's making a habit of these drives through the field.
Top spot changed again on Lap 36 with Buemi making it back by the Jaguars after ceding the lead in the melee. That lead trio were more than a percent to the good on usable energy remaining as the Jaguar powertrain once again proved to be the one to beat.
Guenther hung on to the leaders as the laps whittled away, Evans managed to squeeze by second-placed Bird on the exit of the hairpin and got a good run down the start/finish straight - good enough to make a lunge into Turn 1 stick for the lead on Buemi as the race headed into three added laps. The Kiwi was able to get the jump and get away - pulling out a 0.750s lead with two full laps remaining as Bird hassled Buemi for second just behind in the sprint to the finish.
Bird's incessant attack paid off as he gave it a huge send on Buemi into the Airplane turn for second spot on the final tour - the team's first one-two in Formula E. Guenther fired it up the inside of Buemi at the final turn to prevent a second consecutive 1-2-3 for the I-TYPE 6, not that the factory Jaguar TCS Racing squad will grumble. Wehrlein had slipped to ninth during his final ATTACK MODE activation but made up good ground on that final lap to wind up sixth - nine places and strong points gained.