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Di Grassi wins for Audi in Berlin

Lucas Di Grassi claimed a dominant Formula E victory in the Berlin E-Prix to take a home win for Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler.

The Brazilian racer started third and held position in the opening laps, before passing front row starters Stoffel Vandoorne and Sebastien Buemi in quick succession.

With energy management key in Berlin, Di Grassi opted not to pull a large gap from the rest of the field. He maintainted an advantage of just over a second for most of the first half of the race, though began to pull away when Buemi and Antonio Felix Da Costa began to battle for P2.

In the second half of the race Alex Lynn, who had enjoyed a strong weekend up until that point, came to a stop on the start finish straight as his rear axel seized up.

The race was neutralised with full course yellows, and most of the field took advantage of the reduced pace to activate their second Attack Mode. The Audis of Di Grassi and Daniel Abt decided to wait another lap before passing through the activation zone. The home team judged the clear up best, as the FCY came to an end just as most of the field ran out of Attack Mode.

The added energy allowed Di Grassi to pull away, at one point more than five seconds clear of the battling Buemi and Da Costa.

In the closing stages of the race, he backed off again, with energy management in mind, finishing just under two second ahead of Buemi, who held off Da Costa to take his first podium of the season.

The DS Techeetah drivers were once again ones to watch. After starting eighth, Jean-Eric Vergne spent most of the race in the back end of the top 10, but began to slice his way up through the field later on. Just before the FCY was thrown, he ran side by side with Da Costa in the battle for third. The BMW driver managed to hold on, but Vergne was back on the attack when the caution period ended.

He took third, maintaining his championship advantage over team-mate Andre Lotterer.

Lotterer started from the back of the grid after missing out on a full power lap in qualifying. He had made up good ground and was closing in on the points paying position when a battery issue forced him to retire in the closing stages of the race.

Despite pressure from Vandoorne and Abt in the final laps, Da Costa held onto fourth. Vandoorne took fifth, ahead of Abt, Alexander Sims and Oliver Rowland.

Sam Bird and Pascal Wehrlein rounded out the top 10.

 

Bethonie Waring

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