Norman Nato took his maiden ABB FIA Formula E World Championship victory on Sunday at the Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit, while Nyck de Vries did enough to become the 2020-21 Drivers’ Champion as his rivals all blew their chances of denying the Dutchman the crown.
De Vries took eighth place in the second race of the Berlin E-Prix, but it was enough for him to take the title after his main competitors took themselves out of contention.
Six drivers went into the final race of the season within nine points of the lead, while fourteen drivers mathematically had a chance of the championship. De Vries was on top by three points from Edoardo Mortara, with Jake Dennis a further point back in third and Mitch Evans one further point behind in fourth.
Qualifying had seen the main contenders scattered across the field, with Evans the best placed of the drivers in third, while Stoffel Vandoorne and Oliver Rowland – both not in contention for the championship – locked out the front row. De Vries was down in twelfth, but even before he crossed the start/finish line at the start, two of his rivals had crashed out.
Evans moved only briefly on the grid, only for the car to stop on him. Those behind him all took avoiding action, only for ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Mortara to hit the stricken Jaguar Racing car on the back right corner. Both cars were out on the spot and with debris stricken across the track, the red flag was flown by the officials and the remaining cars returning to the pit lane.
Both Evans and Mortara were able to get out of their cars, with the latter heading to the medical centre for evaluation. De Vries had been lucky as he was able to get through the incident without any drama despite being in the firing line of the debris as he drove alongside the pit wall.
On the restart, another of de Vries’ rivals crashed out, and this time it was the excellently placed Dennis who faltered. The BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver hit the wall before even reaching turn one with what appeared to be an issue with the car. The British driver was out on the spot and was seen distraught at the side of the track, while the safety car was deployed to recover his car.
At the restart, Vandoorne continued to lead ahead of Rowland, while Alexander Sims had moved up to third for Mahindra Racing ahead of Venturi’s Nato and NIO 333 FE Team’s Tom Blomqvist, who had surprised many by making it into the pole shootout earlier in the day.
Nato used his attack modes to good effect to jump into the lead, passing the trio ahead of him, and from there on it, it was the Frenchman’s race to lose, even through another safety car period after two more contenders for the title came to blows.
António Félix da Costa and Lucas di Grassi – who went into the race fifth and sixth in the standings – collided at the hairpin, with the former ending up in the barriers with a heavily damaged DS Techeetah car, while the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver was handed a drive-through penalty for the incident.
At the restart, Rowland nudged Nato at the front, while de Vries was now up to fifth after passing both of the Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team drivers. Vandoorne had slipped down the order as well but recovered in the closing laps saw the Belgian rise back up to third.
Nato was able to hold on until the chequered flag for his maiden victory, with Rowland and Vandoorne completing the podium. It was a timely result for Nato, whose position at Venturi has been under threat after being well adrift of team-mate Mortara in the standings.
Porsche’s André Lotterer took fourth after a late pass on Sims, with Pascal Wehrlein in the second Porsche ending sixth as de Vries lost a handful of positions in the closing moments. The last position he lost was to Jaguar’s Sam Bird, who ended the year with a seventh-place finish.
De Vries’ eighth place ensured himself the title, while René Rast gave Audi two points in their final race in Formula E before withdrawing from the championship. Blomqvist took the final point after a final lap pass on Techeetah’s Jean-Éric Vergne as the Frenchman had to back off to conserve enough energy to reach the finish. He eventually finished eleventh, just ahead of Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns.
De Vries took the title with ninety-nine points, seven points ahead of Mortara, eight ahead of Dennis and nine clear of Evans. Less than twenty points covered the top ten in the standings, while in the Teams’ Championship, the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team took the honours by four points from Jaguar Racing.
Berlin E-Prix Race 2 Result
|1||71||Norman Nato||FRA||ROKIT Venturi Racing||1:11:57.152|
|2||22||Oliver Rowland||GBR||Nissan e.DAMS||+2.270|
|3||5||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||+2.837|
|4||36||André Lotterer||GER||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||+7.105|
|5||29||Alexander Sims||GBR||Mahindra Racing||+8.453|
|6||99||Pascal Wehrlein||GER||TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team||+8.847|
|7||10||Sam Bird||GBR||Jaguar Racing||+10.473|
|8||17||Nyck de Vries||NED||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||+11.108|
|9||33||René Rast||GER||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||+12.189|
|10||88||Tom Blomqvist||GBR||NIO 333 FE Team||+12.679|
|11||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||FRA||DS Techeetah||+13.437|
|12||4||Robin Frijns||NED||Envision Virgin Racing||+13.748|
|13||94||Alex Lynn||GBR||Mahindra Racing||+14.366|
|14||23||Sébastien Buemi||CHE||Nissan e.DAMS||+14.692|
|15||28||Maximilian Günther||GER||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||+15.528|
|16||6||Joel Eriksson||SWE||Dragon/Penske Autosport||+15.940|
|17||37||Nick Cassidy||NZL||Envision Virgin Racing||+16.306|
|18||7||Sérgio Sette Câmara||BRZ||Dragon/Penske Autosport||+16.961|
|19||8||Oliver Turvey||GBR||NIO 333 FE Team||+21.076|
|20||11||Lucas di Grassi||BRZ||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||+35.155|
|RET||13||António Félix da Costa||POR||DS Techeetah||Retired|
|RET||27||Jake Dennis||GBR||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||Retired|
|RET||20||Mitch Evans||NZL||Jaguar Racing||Retired|
|RET||48||Edoardo Mortara||CHE||ROKIT Venturi Racing||Retired|