Edoardo Mortara has won the first Berlin E-Prix of the weekend ahead of a thrilling battle behind him in the final stages of the event.
The ROKiT Venturi Racing driver had started the race from P1, having clinched his debut pole in the series earlier in the day, with Mahindra's Alexander Sims lining up alongside him in second and the DS Techeetah of Antonio Felix da Costa behind in third.
It was a strong start for Mortara, who held off an early challenge from the DS Techeetahs to hold onto the lead.
There were big gains for Jaguar's Sam Bird, going up four places to 11th, while Stoffel Vandoorne dropped down from eighth to 12th.
At the 41-minute mark, a mistake from Jean-Eric Vergne enabled Pascal Wehrlein to move up to P5, with the Porsche cars showing some good pace.
Attack Mode takes effect
A scrap soon unfolded between Sims and Andre Lotterer for P3. Lotterer was able to get ahead, but Sims didn't back down without a fight. This allowed Vergne to close in on Sims, and the Frenchman soon overtook.
Away from the track action, it was announced at 36 minutes that Mortara would be investigated for pit lane overspeeding.
Further back, there was a potentially awkward scenario for the Mercedes-EQ squad, with championship leader Vandoorne looking fast behind teammate Nyck de Vries in 10th and 11th.
At 32 minutes, Wehrlein became the first driver in the field to activate Attack Mode, quickly followed by de Vries. This helped Vandoorne to move up ahead of his teammate.
Vergne took another position from Lotterer to go up to third. But, soon
afterwards, Wehrlein used his remaining minute of Attack Mode to get
in front of Vergne, before soon making his way up to second behind Mortara
in the lead.
At this stage of the race, Mortara was the only driver in the top six not to have used Attack Mode, hinting at a different strategy for the Venturi driver.
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Plenty of action at the front
At 26 minutes, Porsche appeared to make a tactical decision to allow Lotterer to move ahead of teammate Wehrlein. Vergne then pushed his way past Wehrlein, and da Costa joined in the battle into Turn 6.
There appeared to be some contact in the process, but all three stayed in third, fourth and fifth respectively.
A strong recovery from Vandoorne continued further back, with the Belgian working his way up to seventh and using his Attack Mode to benefit.
At 22 minutes, Mortara finally took his first Attack Mode, and only lost one place to Lotterer. The Swiss driver made an easy pass back through into Turn 1 just moments later, though.
Championship contenders Vandoorne and Vergne were running in fifth and sixth at 19 minutes, but Vergne used his second Attack Mode to make a move, as well as overtaking da Costa for fourth.
A tight battle took place behind between Vandoorne and da Costa behind, without the aid of Attack Mode, while Vergne worked his way past Sims up to third.
At 14 minutes, Vandoorne used the extra energy he had reserved to get ahead of Vergne for P3 with a late move, and then used Fan Boost in an attempt to keep da Costa behind.
Meanwhile, Lotterer had closed in on leader Mortara. But, after taking Attack Mode, his return to the track saw him get very close to the DS Techeetahs, while Vandoorne moved up to second.
A thrilling end to the E-Prix
With just under 10 mins remaining, Mortara utilised his second Attack Mode, allowing Lotterer and Vandoorne through. As the minutes ticked down, the battle for the lead looked to be between Vandoorne and Mortara, and Mortara reclaimed P1 with seven minutes remaining.
Vergne used Fan Boost to get ahead of Vandoorne for P2 with five minutes left and, at the two-minute mark, the Frenchman looked at overtaking Mortara for the win.
It seemed like it may happen when Mortara went wide, briefly allowing Vergne through, but the Swiss driver quickly returned to the lead. This allowed both Vandoorne and Lotterer to close in.
Verrgne’s defensiveness against Vandoorne enabled Mortara to build up his lead again, while a thrilling end to the race played out in the fight for P2 as energy levels got lower.
Mortara claimed his second victory of the season in clear air, while Vergne held onto P2 and Vandoorne completed the podium in third.
Vandoorne remains in the lead of the championship ahead of Vergne and Mitch Evans, while Mortara has now moved up to fourth.
A second Berlin E-Prix takes place on Sunday 15 May.
2022 Berlin E-Prix Results
|1||Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing|
|5||Evans||Jaguar TCS Racing|
|7||Bird||Jaguar TCS Racing|
|8||Da Costa||DS Techeetah|
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