• Highs and lows in Berlin as final week of the season gets underway.

Six races in nine days.

After a five-month break from competition, the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team this week launched into a high-intensity sprint to the end of the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship. The first of three double-headers in Berlin turned out to be a mixed bag for the team, with a solid team result in the first race and a bittersweet outcome to the second.

Race results Race 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E

Best race result for Nyck.

Nyck began his first Berlin E-Prix with a highly satisfactory qualifying session. By posting the best time in Group 3, the rookie went through to the Super Pole and booked a respectable fifth place on the grid for Race 1 on the Berlin Tempelhof tarmac. This was to be staged on the regular 2.352 km track, but in the opposite direction to previous years.

Nyck saw plenty of wheel-to-wheel action in the race which he finished in a hard-earned fourth place. "For Nyck, it was an intense battle to defend his position, and he gained one position overall," said team principal Ian James. "Today proved once again just how exciting a Formula E race can be."

For Nyck, fourth place was the best result so far of his budding Formula E career. Even so, there were times during the action-packed and tough race that he thought he might achieve even more: "Fourth place is a good result after an extremely eventful race. Perhaps we could have done even better, but I'm still happy with what we got. Yes, I'm satisfied, but at the same time, I would like to have done more, and I'm still keen to make my first podium appearance."

Stoffel Vandoorne Racing in R6

Stoffel's heroic charge - Part 1

Stoffel Vandoorne travelled to the Formula E season finale in Berlin expecting an emotional rollercoaster over the six race days, and that's exactly what he got. Stoffel qualified in 15th place on the grid and was thus faced with the Herculean task of improving his position in the race. It was a challenge that he mastered to perfection, gaining nine positions in the course of the 36 race laps to finish the E-Prix in sixth place thanks to a strong performance and well-timed use of attack mode and fanboost. "It was great to see how Stoffel made his way through the field and gained nine positions during the race," said Ian James. "He proved his pace today."

Driver FP1 FP2 Qualifying Super Pole Race Standings
#5 S. Vandoorne

P14

1:08.996

24 Laps

P20

1:07.988

20 Laps

P16 (G1: P4)

1:07.993

3 Laps

-

P6

Grid: P15

FL: 1:09.091

P5

46 Points

#17 N. de Vries

P8

1:08.601

23 Laps

P1

1:06.846

20 Laps

P4 (G3: P1)

1:07.308

4 Laps

P5

1:07.302

P4

Grid: P5

FL: 1:09.601

P12

30 Points

 

Stoffel Vandoorne racing in Berlin

In the light of his lowly starting position, Stoffel was delighted with his comeback. "Considering where I started from, sixth place is a good result," he said. "I got off to a good start and conserved my energy reserves early on. After that, I made some sound decisions regarding attack mode and also put in some determined overtaking moves at just the right moment." But that complicated matters for him towards the end of the race: "I was involved in a lot of overtaking, but on the last few laps my priority was to get the car over the line. At one point, I was up to fifth place, but my energy reserves had gone and I was unable to defend my position on the last lap." But at least his pace filled him with confidence for the second race.

Bad luck in Race 2: Nyck's performance goes unrewarded.

Race results Race 7 of the ABB FIA Formula E

The second day of racing also began with a strong performance from Nyck in qualifying. He again managed to make it through to the Super Pole which he emerged from in P4, one position better than the day before. It was the fourth time in seven E-Prixs that he had booked a place on the second row of the grid. In the race itself, he initially made good use of the position: "At the start, I managed to gain one place, but then I was unable to pull away from my pursuers because I was struggling with understeer. I tried to defend myself after the full-course yellow, but had no chance. After that, I was able to follow them OK and stay in touch.

He would very much have liked to deliver another strong competitive display, but unfortunately his race was over by the halfway stage: "It's a pity, of course, but this sort of thing is part and parcel of racing." Team principal Ian James explains: "At that point, we lost communication with Nyck's car - the car turned off completely. We are urgently investigating what happened and haven't yet identified the root cause."

Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne racing at Tempelhof Airfield

Stoffel's heroic charge - Part 2.

The second race of the week saw a repeat performance from Stoffel. After qualifying 13th on the grid, he once again faced the prospect of coming from behind. But it was a challenge that he mastered with aplomb. This time, he advanced by eight positions to finish the race in fifth place.

"That was another super race again from my perspective," he said afterwards with evident delight. "We had some great pace in the car today - I actually think it was even more than yesterday. I felt very comfortable, very confident. We were able to push and took the right decisions again; with attack mode, I was able to overtake a couple of cars, and it was just a good comeback."

Stoffel Vandoorne waiting for the start at Tempelhof Airfield

Like Nyck the day before, there was a point in the race where he hoped that he might be in for something better: "At one point, I thought maybe the podium was going to be a possibility, but we didn't take crazy risks. Ultimately, though, P5 was another good points haul for us." Especially with the realisation that he had posted the fastest lap of the race in a time of 1:08.635 minutes.

"After Nyck's retirement, the team then concentrated on supporting Stoffel with the right strategy calls," added Ian James. "He managed to climb to P5 and proved his pace once again, taking fastest lap as well today. He scored 11 points in total."

Driver FP3 Qualifying Super Pole Race Standings
#5 S. Vandoorne

P10

1:06.969

30 Laps

P13 (G1: P4)

1:07.292

2 Laps

-

P5

Grid: P13

FL: 1:08.635

P3

57 Points

#17 N. de Vries

P17

1:07.267

27 Laps

P5 (G2: P2)

1:06.951

2 Laps

P4

1:06.921

DNF

Grid: P9

FL: 1:09.374

P13 30 Points

 

Not long to the next double-header...

The Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team getting attack Mode

After seven of the eleven rounds in the 2019/20 season, the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team is placed fourth in the team championship on 87 points - one point behind Nissan e.Dams and five points adrift of BMW i Andretti Motorsport. Stoffel's two Top Six results in Berlin were enough to take him up to third place in the drivers' championship; he is actually tied on 57 points with second-placed Lucas di Grassi (Audi).

There is no time for the team to take a breather after the first double-header in Berlin. The next two races in quick succession are scheduled for the coming weekend. This time, they will be contested on the traditional track layout. "Obviously, we don't have much time between now and Saturday," said Ian James. "We will make use of tomorrow and thoroughly prepare ourselves for the next double-header."

Stoffel is already familiar with the regular track layout from last year, but Nyck will be competing on the reverse configuration for the first time. "It is important that nothing in Formula E should be taken for granted," said Nyck with reference to next weekend. "In any case, we'll persist with the approach we've been taking since the beginning of the season, and then, on Saturday, we'll see where we stand in comparison to the other teams."

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