Dominant Abt wins in Berlin to front Audi 1-2

Daniel Abt put in a dominant performance at the Berlin ePrix to take maximum points away from the weekend with pole, fastest lap and victory.

Abt, a native of Kempten, Germany, continued his form from qualifying to hold the lead on the opening tour of the Flughafen Tempelhof circuit located in south Berlin, holding first position until the chequered flag waved on lap 45.

While Abt experienced a simple race at the front of the pack, his team-mate, Lucas di Grassi, had to battle his way through the business end of the field of 20 to secure second place – the fourth race in succession that the reigning champion has taken 18 points away from a Formula E weekend.

Jean-Eric Vergne stood on the final step of the podium after being locked in a race-long battle with Renault e.dams driver, Sebastien Buemi, who finished in fourth place, 4.3 seconds adrift of a podium finish.

Buemi started from seventh and was able to clear Dragon Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio early on in the race, dispatching of the driver on lap four with a diving move into the right-hand hairpin of Turn 9. Closing in on Vergne, Buemi performed a successful overtake to move into the top three, only to drop off the podium after his French rival was able to regain the position.

“I had a good start,” explained Buemi to Motorsport Monday. “I managed to pass Felix [Rosenqvist] and then I passed Jerome [d’Ambrosio] quickly on, then JEV [Jean-Eric Vergne]. I had a good run with the first car, but then towards the end of the first stint I started to struggle a little bit and then the second stint, we overtook [Oliver] Turvey bus basically I was not really competitive, not at the level of the Techeetah or Audi of course. So at the end of the day, P4 is not the end of the world but I’m a bit surprised with the gap to the Audi and I’m a bit disappointed to miss out on the podium.”

On the other side of the Renault e.dams garage, Buemi’s team-mate, Nico Prost, failed to deliver a points scoring finish for the French marque, finishing in 14th place after qualifying in 20th. Prost had a strong opening stint but lost a handful of positions in the pit phase, costing him a potential points finish.

“The quali was a disaster to be honest,” admitted Prost when talking to Motorsport Monday. “Again, since last year it’s really difficult in quali and today, it was even worse. Then the race was really good. [I] overtook a lot of cars. Unfortunately, all of the cars I overtook in the first stint overtook me back in the pit stop because in the end, they all came back, and I had to overtake them all all over again.”

The results from the race mean that Jean-Eric Vergne has extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship over Sam Bird, now holding a 40 point lead with three races remaining. Renault e.dams sit in sixth in the Teams’ Standings with 89 points.

Image: Dieter Gass, Lucas di Grassi, Daniel Abt, Jean-Eric Vergne on the podium at the 2018 Formula E Berlin E-Prix 2018. © Audi Communications Motorsport / Michael Kunkel.

Chris Soulsby

Formula E Editor at MotorsportWeek and MotorsportMonday.