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Da Costa clinches the title as Vergne leads Techeetah 1-2

Antonio Felix da Costa became Formula E’s Season 6 champion after coming second in the fourth race in Berlin. Teammate Jean-Eric Vergne won his first race of the season. 

Ahead of the fourth round of the Berlin E-Prix, the Techeetah team had obtained its fourth pole position in a row, with Vergne repeating yesterday’s feat. But this was the first time the Chinese team obtained a front row lock out in qualifying, with championship leader da Costa starting from P2. 

The Portuguese had a 68 point advantage over Guenther in the championship standings and all the odds were in his favour to take his first Formula E championship. 

Minutes before the race start, the Envision Virgin Racing team announced on their official Twitter account that Robin Frijns would not be taking part of the race, as his car got broken and the Dutchman could not participate. 

The race came to an early finish for yesterday’s winner Maximilian Guenther seconds after red lights went out. The German crashed into a NIO car, breaking his car and retiring from the race. Yellow flags, and later safety car, were immediately deployed

This put da Costa in an advantageous position in the title run, as the driver occupying the second position in the championship standings was out of the race, therefore out of contention for today. 

As the race was resumed, Vergne kept his lead followed by da Costa. Following suits came the two Nissans, with Oliver Rowland ahead of Sebastien Buemi, while Nyck de Vries completed the Top 5. 

The fight in the top three was on, as Alex Lynn, Rowland, and da Costa battles each other to be in a podium position. Buemi and de Vries also joined the fight. 

Da Costa overtook Vergne almost 20 minutes into the race. With the Portuguese leading the race, he was charging up to take the title on a high while scoring his fourth victory of the season. 

As the race went on, di Grassi was able to climb up several places in the standings, battling de Vries for a pace within the top five. Fellow Brazilian driver Felipe Massa passed Lynn and later Evans, trying to catch up on his countryman. Lynn later dropped to P10, suffering from lack of race pace, an ongoing issue he had throughout the E-Prix. 

Back in the front of the race, Vergne had overtaken his teammate and was back in the lead, but points wise, it was still the Portuguese who was clinching the title still from P2. 

Buemi was able to overtake teammate Rowland, positioning himself in P3 but with his teammate still attacking to get back in his position. De Vries passed the Brit in the very last lap of the race. 

As the chequered flag was waved, Vergne crossed the finish line in first, followed by da Costa, who clinched the championship from second position. Buemi completed the podium. 

This is da Costa’s first championship, having raced in the series since Season 1. He took his first victory in Buenos Aires S1, not going back to winning ways until Season 5, where he won the very first race of the season. But it would be this year when the Portuguese would make a brilliant campaign with the DS Techeetah team, scoring four victories to take the long-awaited title. 

Andrea Perilli

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