Mercedes-Benz EQ managed to have a perfect end to the season in the Berlin E-Prix at Tempelhof Airport as Stoffel Vandoorne led home Nyck de Vries for a Silver Arrows 1-2.
Stoffel Vandoorne drove a perfect race to win the first championship for the German team with de Vries coming second to his teammate in the Driver’s Championship after making a late move on Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) earning his spot as the best-placed rookie in 2019/2020 season.
“Honestly going into basically the last day I didn’t even realise that everything was still so open considering everything we went through,” said de Vries. “I really thought we could have a good day and achieve a good result as a team but I didn’t realise that (second) was actually still on the table. I checked after the race and Stoffel wouldn’t have finished there without my move on Buemi!”
Vandoorne made the offer of a cold one to his team-mate by way of recompense for his last-ditch efforts, though it was never going to be any of his winners’ Moet & Chandon, which ended up on the concrete apron at Tempelhof.
The team principal Ian James was also very crucial to the win after putting the Brit through the ringer in that crucial Round 11 showdown – the team chasing second spot and bragging rights in the standings into the final few laps of the season.
De Vries was very confident in both his abilities as a racer, and with his team’s tactics and energy management strategy to produce.
“When you’re in the car, you don’t think about what if – you follow the instinct and you trust the team because we manage the race strategically,” added the 25-year-old.
“I just trust the guys, saving energy and having a go later on in the race. It also depends on who you’re racing because Seb (Buemi) is fair and straightforward. At the end of the day, you’re racing and you want to go for it. If there is a gap, you take it.
“All the pressure just melted away once I’d crossed the finish line. On previous occasions, I’ve often got close to finishing on the podium, but unfortunately, it just never happened for me, so it felt really good to have finally succeeded.
“Overtaking was harder on the third layout than on the first two that we raced on, which is why we thought we could see a chance of finishing second, and luckily, our plan worked out.
De Vries’ first year in Formula E left the Dutchman positive, having been well aware of the unique challenge served up by the all-electric street racing championship.
“I knew it was going to be very unpredictable, very challenging, very different,” said de Vries. “You really can’t take anything for granted and every day is a new day.
“You have to manage energy and fight as well. That compromise is difficult and sometimes you really don’t know when it’s smartest or safest to use up your reserves with the competitiveness of the whole category and especially the midfield.
“In Berlin, the challenge was multiplied. The order changed upside down from one day to another and it’s not that suddenly the car is wrong or you have lost something. The package can be competitive, but it’s so extremely tight and it’s so tricky to get it right all the time – especially on that one lap in qualifying.
“You have to remember that in practice you have two laps in 250 kW – two chances to pick up your references. Being in Berlin for such a long time, everyone started to get closer and then every day someone will get it right.
“That means if you want to be there all the time, you have to get it right all the time, and that’s a tough, tough challenge.”