Formula E Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne one step closer to another title after win in Switzerland

Jean-Eric Vergne led from pole Saturday.

Formula E Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne is one step closer to defending his series championship after taking his third win of the season on the streets of Bern, Switzerland Saturday.

Starting from Pole Vergne led the pack around the 2.750km (1.708 mile) 14-turn “rollercoaster” of a track in the heart of Bern, followed by Mitch Evans and home race hero Sebastien Buemi in third.

Seconds after the start, a jam at turn 1 caused by a collision between Pascal Wehrlein and Max Gunther brought out the red flag.  Also involved in the incident after behing hit by Jerome d’Ambrosio, Robin Frijns was left stranded on track with a broken drivetrain, ending his race almost before it had even started.

Having cleared the track, the remaining cars returned to the pit lane to repair the damage, reorder (as they started the race) and restart behind the BMW i8 Safety Car with 44 minutes left on the clock.

Back in the action, Vergne led Evans and Buemi while Lucas di Grassi battled at the back in a bid to move up through the pack. Pulling away from Buemi’s dual-motor Nissan, Vergne and Evans battled for the lead.

Attempting to pass race leader Vergne on the turn 3 downhill, Evans backed off before heading into the chicane, keeping close to the reigning champion. Further down the pack Alex Lynn engaged ATTACK MODE by passing through the ATTACK MODE Activation Zone between Turn 8 and 9. Each driver can use ATTACK MODE twice, with each activation lasting four minutes.

Battling for fifth, Sam Bird took Gunther in an ambitious move on turn 3. With Gunther down to sixth, Bird focused on working his way further forward.

Sights from the Formula E Swiss E-Prix in Bern, Saturday June 22, 2019

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Slowing on track, Pascal Wehrlein ground to a halt just after turn 8. Under a Full Course Yellow, the Mahindra driver’s car was pulled off track. With the pack regrouped, Buemi was back behind Evans having successfully defended his podium position while Sam Bird had made it into fourth.

Still intent on taking the lead, Evans attacked Vergne again on turn 3. Unable to pass, the Kiwi stuck to his tail hoping for another opportunity.

Making use of his FANBOOST, Buemi attempted to take Evans for second place with less than seven minutes left until the end of the race. Behind Bird in fourth, Lotterer had made his way into fifth. Reliving former rivalries following a battle in Hong Kong earlier in the season, Lotterer went on the attack, determined to take Bird as retribution for the damage he sustained in Asia. Eventually slipping past him on Turn 7, Lotterer took fourth with a podium position in mind.

In the final seconds, heavy rain led to slippery conditions as Vergne desperately tried to retain his lead and get across the line despite Evans continuing to attack. Drifting through the corners, the top four went nose to tail across the finish line with Vergne first, Evans second and Buemi leading Lotterer in third and fourth.

Across the line, the reigning champion was verbally relived as he brought his car back to the pit lane having significantly extended his lead ahead of the final in New York City.  

Lotterer was handed a post-race time penalty and finished outside of the top 10 as a result.

During the 45-minute + 1 lap race, Lotterer was under investigation for ignoring the pit exit lights and following a post-race investigation from the FIA, was found to be in breach of Article 37.1 of the 2018/2019 FIA Formula E Sporting Regulations. Lotterer was handed a drive-through penalty, converted into a post-race time penalty of 22 seconds with this demoting the driver to 15th in the final race classification.

 

The final race of the season will be in New York on July 14.

1. Jean-Eric Vergne – DS Techeetah

2. Mitch Evans – Panasonic Jaguar

3. Sebastien Buemi – Nissan e.Dams

4. Andre Lotterer – DS Techeetah

5. Sam Bird – Envision Virgin

6. Maximilian Guenther – GEOX Dragon

7. Daniel Abt – Audi

8. Alex Lynn – Panasonic Jaguar

9. Felipe Massa – Venturi

10. Lucas di Grassi – Audi

11. Stoffel Vandoorne – HWA AG

12. Antonio Felix da Costa – BMWi Andretti

13. Jose-Maria Lopez – GEOX Dragon

14. Alexander Sims – BMWi Andretti

15. Andre Lotterer – DS Techeetah

16. Jerome D’Ambrosio – Mahindra

17. Tom Dillman – NIO

18. Oliver Turvey – NIO

19. Gary Paffett – HWA AG

20. Oliver Rowland (DNF)

21. Pascal Wehrlein (DNF)

22. Edoardo Mortara (DNF)

23. Robin Frijns (DNF)

 

 

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