Jean-Éric Vergne continued his strong start to the 2021-22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season with a second-place finish in the first of the two races at the Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit on Saturday, but that first win of the year still eludes the two-time champion.
The DS Techeetah driver lost a place off the line to Tag Heuer Porsche FE Team’s André Lotterer, but he had the pace to fight at the front of the field and was challenging race leader Edoardo Mortara towards the end of the race.
Unfortunately for Vergne, a move on the ROKiT Venturi Racing driver with six laps to go failed to pay off, and rather than challenging for the win he was left to defend his second place against Stoffel Vandoorne until the chequered flag.
But despite this, he was pleased to finish second, and he knew he had to at least make an attempt on taking the lead against Mortara rather than settle for an easier finish.
“It was an eventful race, a lot of things happened,” said Vergne. “We had a strong pace today and I’m happy with second. Obviously, I tried to overtake Eduardo (Mortara) but he saw me coming so I could not overtake.
“I still had to try, I was not just going to sit behind and be happy with second so I had to try something. It was quite tight with Stoffel, so first my target was to win then I had pressure from behind so I had to watch out for Stoffel.
“But I am happy with second, another podium and more points – hopefully we can finally win a race this year.
“The pace of the car was good, it was better in the middle part of the race than at the end, maybe in the middle part I could have gained more time more advantage. But its okay, we are going to learn from this race and move on until tomorrow.”
“This result is hard to explain” – António Félix da Costa
Team-mate António Félix da Costa was involved in the lead battle throughout the race, but the Portuguese driver ended up down in eighth, something he finds hard to explain.
Félix da Costa started third and attacked Alexander Sims going into turn one to attempt to get into second, a move that ultimately didn’t initially pay off, but he found himself embroiled in the battle for the win and podium places, only to be shuffled down the pack in the closing laps.
He says he will come out stronger out of what he describes as ‘paddling hard against a strong current’, but he knows he has another chance of success in Berlin on Sunday.
“We had a good race, the car is fast, we qualified well and raced well for most of the race,” said Félix da Costa. “This result is hard to explain.
“It feels that I’m now paddling hard against a strong current but I have been here before and I will come out of it stronger.”