Mitch Evans will be praying for a miracle if he is to overcome a 69-point deficit to runaway Formula E championship leader Antonio Felix da Costa who took yet another imperious race victory in the second Berlin E-Prix in convincing style.
A disappointing qualifying session meant Evans started from a lowly 17th while Da Costa powered his DS Techeetha to another pole position.
It set the tone for another difficult race in which the Kiwi struggled to make headway through the field, ultimately crossing the line down in 12th in his second consecutive non-points finish.
Da Costa meanwhile, is now the clear title favourite after he cruised to another unrivalled victory three-seconds up the road from his nearest rival Sebastian Buemi.
Buemi demonstrated glimpses of promise to challenge the led in the early stages of the race but ran into misfortune when a full-course yellow was deployed to collect the front wing from Guenther’s BMW Andretti car just moments after activating his first dose of attack mode.
The caution period triggered the start of a flurry of incidents, the first two tours later when bodywork on Sam Bird’s Envision Jaguar found a new home along the main straight before a third and final full-course yellow was waved on lap 16 to recover a stricken Nyck de Vries.
Buemi then suffered a lockup on the final restart which dropped him over two-second behind da Costa who went on to ease across the line and extend his championship lead with a third victory in a row for the Portuguese racer.
Buemi hung onto second, ahead of Audi’s Lucas di Grassi who resisted a late challenge by the second Envision Virgin of Robin Frijns for the final podium spot.
Frijns also had his fair share of defending to do as well as a hard-charging Stoffel Vandoorne rapidly latched onto the rear of the Dutchman, following him across the line in tandem to collect fifth.
Like Evans, Vandoorne was another driver forced to run in the opening Q1 group courtesy of his championship position and lined up 13th.
Despite nursing some wounded bodywork, Bird finished ahead of Oliver Rowland, Edoardo Mortara, Porsche’s Andre Lotterer and reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne whose miserable trip to Berlin continued as he rounded out the top 10.
Evans will now have a two-day break between races as circuit officials completely reverse the track configuration to run in the traditional anti-clockwise direction.
The Kiwi also falls to fourth in the standings, one point adrift of both Di Grassi and Vandoorne who are tied for second.
|António Félix da Costa
|Lucas Di Grassi
|Sérgio Sette Câmara
|Nyck de Vries