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Da Costa comfortably wins in Berlin increasing championship lead

Antonio Felix da Costa went back to winning ways as Formula E resumed action in the Tempelhof track. The Portuguese clinched a lights-to-flag victory to extend his championship lead. 

After a five-month hiatus, racing is back in the ever-exciting Formula E series. The championship leader, Antonio Felix da Costa, kicked the Berlin E-Prix with the right foot, qualifying in pole position ahead of the first race out of the six which this special season finale will have. 

Techeetah had obtained a 1-2 start in qualifying, which da Costa and Vergne strongly defended as soon as the red lights went out. D’Ambrosio got relegated a number of places at the start of the race, while Lotterer tried to overtake former teammate Vergne but the Frenchman did not give in under the Porsche driver’s pressure. 

The first couple of races had no major incidents or overtakes, but up in the front positions the battle between Lotterer and Buemi for the third spot was on. The Swiss, who has won in this circuit and has a vast experience and surely know his way around the Tempelhof track. 

Ten minutes into the race, Envision Virgin Racing driver Robin Frijns binned his car, which caused damage on the front of his car. Yellow flags were immediately deployed in the circuit, as the Dutchman dropped to the bottom of the standings, to later retire from the race. Safety Car finally came out while the debris was removed from the track. 

As racing resumed, Bird was able to move up some places in the standings, passing D’Ambrosio and joining the fight for the P5 spot. He finally overtook Buemi, entering the Top 5. More changes happened in the front positions, as De Vries finally overtook Lotterer, positioning himself in P3. 

In the mid-table positions, d’Ambrosio was able to pass Massa. Evans, who sits second in the championship standings, had started the race in the middle of the grid, but slowly made his way up to fighting the Top 5. 

The fight for P5 was strong, as Bird, Buemi, d’Ambrosio, and Buemi all battled to reach that spot. A couple of places up front, the battle between de Vries and Lotterer went on, as the Dutchman lost his P3 spot to the German. 

The second yellow flag deployment came when Massa impacted against a wall, damaging the front of his car, and having to abandon the race. 

Lotterer dropped to P5, abandoning his fight for a podium finish, as Bird and de Vries passed him. The Brit, who will move to Jaguar Racing for Season 7, overtook Vergne and positioned himself in P2. Lotterer was able to fight back and he climbed back to P3, passing both de Vries and Vergne. 

Vergne later dropped to P5, while Vandoorne, who had started the race in the midfield positions, was now in P6, fighting for a spot in the Top 5. He finally overtook the reigning champion, who had lost strength during the course of the race. 

Evans, who had climbed up a number of places from his starting position and ran within the Top 10, spun and hit the wall. Although he was able to go back in action, he dropped to P18 in the last lap of the race. 

Just in the last moments of the race, Lotterer overtook Sam Bird climbing up to P2, while the Brit did not give in his fight for a second-spot until the last metres of the circuit until seeing the chequered flag. 

Antonio Felix da Costa clinched the win, extending his championship lead after five-months without Formula E action. Lotterer and Bird completed the podium. Teammate Vergne, who had strongly started the race, lost positions during the course of it, and finally dropped to the bottom of the standings as his car ran out of battery in the last instants of the race. 

The race was no short of action, especially during the last minutes of it, and will surely keep us with our eyes peeled in the upcoming eight days of pure racing at Berlin Tempelhof. 

Andrea Perilli

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