Mitch Evans’ Formula E return was anything shy of successful after the Kiwi was pitched into a spin by Max Günther with only a handful of time remaining, eventually wrestling himself to 15th at the chequered flag.
Victory was claimed by Evans’ main title protagonist Antonio Felix da Costa who stretches his Formula E points lead after a convincing drive to lead the entirety of the Berlin Tempelhof opener.
The Kiwi still sits second in the standings but a once a slender 11-point margin has quickly become a colossal 41-point advantage in favour of the Portuguese racer who picked up points for fastest lap and pole position earlier in the day.
Da Costa and DS Techeetah teammate Jean-Eric Vergne looked in total cruise control and en route to a certain 1-2 finish before a late Safety Car was deployed after Felipe Massa careened into a barrier.
Vergne had already used the last of his attack mode allotment before the Safety Car, thus was compelled to run with maximum energy under caution.
The Frenchman’s best opportunity then came when Da Costa activated his final dose of attack made, banging wheels with his teammate as the duelled along the straight before eventually conceding defeat.
Da Costa then thundered to a five-second victory as Vergne fell prey to the challenging pack behind who all had activated attack mode, falling on the fringe of the top-10 before being spun around by Lucas di Grassi on the final lap.
Further back an ugly tussle between Evans, Günther, Sebastian Buemi and Stoffel Vandoorne ended when the Jaguar muscled his way past Guenther for seventh only to be punted from behind and pitched into a full 360-degree pirouette.
Andre Lotterer picked off Sam Bird to score a late second position for Porsche courtesy of Vergne’s slump, with Bird driving a man-of-the-match performance having sat seventh for most of the race only for a late charge on attack mode ensuring the Envision Virgin man scored a podium finish.
Nyck de Vries finished a combative fourth, ahead Jerome d’Ambrosio and Mercedes team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne who impressed after a woeful qualifying left him 15th on the grid to fifth.
Buemi was another drive on course for the final podium spot for much of the 45-minute race but fell back to seventh at the line, ahead of Guenther, di Grassi and Alexander Sims.
Evans will have a shot at redemption and another opportunity to claw back his points deficit tomorrow for the second of six races in the season finale showdown which kicks off from 4.30 am NZT.
|António Félix da Costa
|Nyck de Vries
|Lucas Di Grassi
|Sérgio Sette Câmara