Formula E: Vergne beats Evans in tense Swiss E-Prix

Jean-Eric Vergne battled hard against Mitch Evans in the 2019 Swiss ePrix. Image sourced from @DS_Official via Twitter.

Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne won the Swiss ePrix after a trhilling battle with Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and the Nissan e.Dams of Sebastian Buemi.

Vergne on Top in Super Pole

In qualifying, Vergne claimed Pole Position ahead of Mitch Evans and Sebastian Buemi.

Fellow championship contender Robin Frijns qualified in ninth, while Lucas di Grassi and Antonio Felix da Costa struggled in 19th and 20th respectively.

Dragon’s Maximillian Gunther put in a great performance to start in fifth, with team-mate Jose Maria Lopez only managing 14th.

Traffic Jam Leads to Aborted Start

When the lights turned green, Vergne got a great start as Buemi challenged Evans for second place.

Behind them, chaos broke out after Gunther and Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein collided at the chicane and saw the German get tapped into a half-spin.

This subsequently blocked the track, while a separate incident occurred between Frijns and the second Mahindra of Jerome d’Ambrosio.

As a result, most of the drivers got stuck within the blockage, while a few of them were able to find the escape road. Unsurprisingly, the red flag to clear the track while the Safety Car brought the survivors back to the pits.

The race was then restarted and saw the drivers revert back to their original starting positions. This was bad news for the likes of Di Grassi and Da Costa, who had both avoided the mayhem and moved up to eighth and ninth respectively.

Several drivers had sustained damage, including Sam Bird and Andre Lotterer, who picked up a puncture and a broken front wing between them. However, Frijns’ day was over, after the driveshaft broke on his Envision Virgin and dwindled his championship hopes further.

Di Grassi and Da Costa Restart Fightback

When the track was cleared, Vergne was in the lead, with Evans and Buemi close behind. A brief yellow flag was waved after Edoardo Mortara (Venturi) made slight contact with BMW’s Alexander Sims.

As Vergne held off Evans at the front, Da Costa and Di Grassi steadily made up ground.

Elsewhere, D’Ambrosio was handed a drive-through penalty for his incident with Frijns. Additionally, Bird pulled off an amazing move on Gunther to overtake the Dragon driver round the outside of Turn 3 for fifth place.

Nissan e.Dams’ Sebastien Buemi is pursued by the Envision Virgin of Sam Bird during the 2019 Swiss ePrix in Bern. Image sourced from @Sebastien_buemi via Twitter.

Shortly after, the full course yellow came out after Wehrlein’s car suddenly stopped on track. When racing resumed and with 20 minutes to go, Di Grassi and Da Costa, were now 12th and 13th.

As the top four used their last remaining “Attack Mode”, Di Grassi overtook Nissan’s Oliver Rowland into turn 7 for 11th place. Lotterer also made small progress and was up to fifth at the expense of Gunther at the same corner.

Bird came under huge pressure from Lotterer, but locked-up and allowed the Techeetah through into fourth as Di Grassi past HWA’s Stoffel Vandoorne for tenth place.

Vergne Wins as Lotterer is Penalised

The late-arrival of heavy rain made the track very slippery as Vergne desperately held off Evans for the lead.

With the pair nose-to-tail, the leading quartet crossed the line with Vergne picking up his third victory of the season. Evans claimed second for Jaguar, with Buemi and Lotterer close behind.

A communication error by DS Techeetah led to Andre Lotterer’s post-race time penalty in Bern. Image sourced from @FIAFormulaE via Twitter

However, a post-race penalty for jumping a red light in the pits dropped Lotterer to 14th in the final classification.

Subsequently, Bird was classified in fourth ahead of Gunther. Audi’s Daniel Abt finished sixth, with Alex Lynn, Felipe Massa, Di Grassi and Vandoorne completing the top ten.

Da Costa and Mortara also recieved five-second penalties, although their final positions wer unaffected. On top of this, Lopez was also disqualified from 12th, after his exceeded the maximum power output.

Vergne extends his Championship Lead

Jean-Eric Vergne’s victory means the Frenchman has extended his lead over Lucas Di Grassi in the standings to 32 points.

Mitch Evans is further 11 points adrift in third, just ahead of Vergne’s team-mate Andre Lotterer in fourth.