Berlin Formula E 2021 driver ratings - The Race
Formula E

Berlin Formula E 2021 driver ratings

Aug 16 2021
By Sam Smith

The 2021 Formula E season is over, and the 18-way championship battle has been won by the driver who looked capable of dominating way back on day one of the campaign: Mercedes’ Nyck de Vries.

Sam Smith gives his verdict on every driver’s performance across the Berlin E-Prix weekend.

DS Techeetah

Antonio Felix da Costa – 5

Finished: 7th/Retired
Championship Position: 8th, 86 points

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Saturday started off slowly for da Costa as he struggled to extract a time in free practice but he and his engineers plugged away, making several changes to claw his way back into contention.

One of these included an initial brake change that didn’t work out and he then reverted to the set that were slightly damaged via Andre Lotterer’s antics in London.

A strong qualifying lap that was good enough for superpole but he then just lost out on pole to team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne by a mere 0.073s.

The race was slightly compromised by a suspected throttle sensor issue that caused him to lose regen capability a few times at Turn 1.

He was shuffled back after the poor strategy execution by the team and some excessive tyre wear to finish a mostly disconsolate seventh.

Sunday brought more woe with more struggles for pace and issues that limited him to 15th on the grid.

His race ended against the barriers courtesy of Lucas di Grassi feeding him into the Turn 2 wall – leaving not only a bent car but more painfully a feeling of deflation for the outgoing champion, who was simply unable to adequately defend his title in Germany.

Jean-Eric Vergne – 5

Finished: 6th/11th
Championship Position: 10th, 80 points

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Vergne started the weekend in a positive frame of mind and it showed as he completed stellar qualifying and superpole laps to claim his second pole of the season.

His race promised much but it soon unravelled as the team got caught out on strategy and went from a solid and seemingly comfortable 1-2 to dispiriting and furious 6-7.

Sunday brought more misery as he started just behind da Costa and then despite pushing his way into the top 10 he was shuffled back after contact on the final lap with Rene Rast. A largely limp 11th underlined a massively disappointing weekend.

Nissan e.dams

Sebastien Buemi – 4

Finished: 11th/14th
Championship Position: 21st, 20 points

Fia Formula E Berlin Eprix

Buemi again showed a turn of speed to make it into superpole with what he believed to be an improved car.

The team had brought emergency parts over from France on Thursday in an effort to cure a vibration, which was believed to have been part of its 2021 issues as a whole.

A sixth placed start was as good as it got though as he soon got swallowed up when his attack mode deployment was interrupted by the safety car period and made him vulnerable to attack in the second half of the race. It all resulted in an 11th place finish.

Sunday was a little microcosm of Buemi’s season as a whole. Unable to extract pace in his qualifying group he then sank from eighth to 14th in the race with little explanation as to why.

Plenty of thinking time for the 2015/16 champion and the Nissan e.dams team to come after a devastatingly inadequate campaign.

Oliver Rowland – 8

Finished: 13th/2nd
Championship Position: 14th, 77 points

Oliver Rowland (gbr), Nissan E.dams, 2nd Position, With His Trophy

Rowland had a solid Saturday lap in group three, which was good enough for an 11th place start and he initially ran with Buemi in the points.

Like his team-mate though he was affected by the safety car timing due to Sam Bird’s broken Jaguar, and he never really recovered so came home 13th.

Rowland’s Nissan farewell was excellent on Sunday as once again he was able to outshine team-mate Buemi – taking second on the grid with a much improved car from Saturday.

He drove a sharp race and was able to follow Norman Nato past polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne. He wasn’t able to catch the Venturi Mercedes however and a brief nudge after the final safety car restart was as close as he got.

A second place Nissan swansong was entirely fitting for a driver who has provided the only flicker of light in a season in which it has simply failed to get on terms with its new hardware.

Mercedes

Stoffel Vandoorne – 8

Finished: 12th/3rd
Championship Position: 9th, 82 points

Formula E Berlin E Prix 2021

Vandoorne had a poor race one qualifying and never hooked his car up, ensuring he could manage no better than 22nd.

His race was strong – making up 10 positions but with few retirements it wasn’t good enough to grab a point despite being one of the fastest cars on track. He still battled valiantly and made several fine manoeuvres, though the no-score ruled out any chance of a last gasp title challenge.

An excellent second pole of the season was achieved in a relatively straightforward manner on Sunday but the race was anything but.

The pace was not as potent as expected from the start and he was unable to stay on terms with Nato and Rowland over the distance.

Vandoorne still maximised what he had though and a late second attack mode strategy ensured he was able to square off Andre Lotterer and Alexander Sims and seal third.

Nyck de Vries – 7

Finished: 22nd/8th
Championship Position: 1st, 99 points

Formula E Berlin E Prix 2021

De Vries got involved in a needless bunching incident in qualifying that compromised himself and Jake Dennis who was on a different ‘no warm-up lap’ strategy. It conspired to anchor him to 19th on the grid.

From there he made some initial progress but it was slow going and then he suffered a puncture after contact with Sims’ Mahindra. That meant he was only in the race to gain tyre data for Sunday and he was classified in 22nd and a lap down.

Salvation came on Sunday but in the most unlikely of manners after three of his title rivals were eliminated just metres beyond the start.

While this released some pressure de Vries had a combative race as the team tried, but failed, to quell his natural racer’s instinct.

It actually mattered little in the bigger picture but a brawny fight with Sims (who he was highly critical of after the race), the Porsches and a charging Bird was just a footnote to a hard-earned eighth place that delivered an entirely deserved first world title since his karting successes a decade ago.

Envision Virgin Racing

Robin Frijns – 5

Finished: 15th/12th
Championship Position: 5th, 89 points

Fia Formula E Berlin Eprix

Frijns was on course for a decent time in group one on Saturday but made a slight error at the final corner. It was enough to drop him to a back-row start to continue recent qualifying misery.

He made some progress but it was never going to be enough and he came in 15th just behind team-mate Nick Cassidy.

Despite myriad changes it was mostly the same story for Frijns on Sunday with a customary lowly start (21st) and an attempt to come through the field which only got as far as 12th.

All-in-all a huge deflation for the Dutchman and the EVR team.

Nick Cassidy – 4

Finished: 14th/17th
Championship Position: 15th, 76 points

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Like Frijns, Cassidy had a nightmare weekend and there was no sign at all that he was going to sustain recent excellent form and launch a big-for-a-rookie title challenge.

The EVR Audi package just simply didn’t get going at Tempelhof with a lacklustre 14th on Saturday followed up with an even more difficult 17th on Sunday.

It all contributed to the only non-score weekend of the entire season and a whole load of head-scratching.

BMW i Andretti

Maximilian Guenther – 5

Finished: 8th/15th
Championship Position: 16th, 66 points

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Guenther put in a strong qualifying lap and was just 0.072s off eventual winner di Grassi but started seven places further back on the grid after not making it into superpole for only the fifth occasion this season.

He felt that eighth place was the maximum he could achieve in the race after damaging his nose in early contact, although he had solid tyre and energy management throughout.

Sunday was flat for Guenther who despite giving it his all was just never able to mount a challenge for points after he and his engineers went down several set-up rabbit holes that compromised grip levels.

Jake Dennis – 8

Finished: 5th/Retired
Championship Position: 3rd, 91 points

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Tempelhof rookie Dennis was up to speed immediately but was compromised by de Vries in qualifying and lost at least a tenth. It meant he slipped out of superpole contention and started eighth.

He had a strong race but had to fight for his eventual fifth position after a poor start. He felt he didn’t quite have the pace in his car to fight for a podium and like his team-mate maximised his points to stay well in the title hunt.

Things looked very good for Dennis in the decider after Mitch Evans and Edoardo Mortara were eliminated so early but then a suspected issue in his powertrain contributed to him crashing at the first turn on the restart.

Initially devastated, Dennis soon woke up to the realisation that third place in the standings was an outstanding effort for arguably Formula E’s greatest ever rookie campaign.

Audi

Lucas di Grassi – 7

Finished: 1st/20th
Championship Position: 7th, 87 points

Fia Formula E Berlin Eprix

Di Grassi had a trouble free practice period but it was in qualifying and superpole when he showed that Audi would be a real contender in the race as he executed excellent laps to start third.

His race was a masterclass. He and the team completed a perfect strategy to overturn what they initially believed to be stronger DS Techeetahs.

Di Grassi was able to pick off the Venturi Mercedes after waiting longer for his attack mode and he controlled the race in the final 10 minutes to take a highly accomplished 12th Formula E victory.

The flipside of di Grassi’s nature ultimately played out on Sunday when he fed da Costa into the wall at the Turn 2 hairpin. This resulted in a drive-through penalty and confined him to a 20th place finish.

The truth was though that he and his team already knew any dream of a fairytale crack at the title in Audi’s final race was over after a poor middle sector in qualifying resulted in a 17th place grid start.

Rene Rast – 7

Finished: 9th/9th
Championship Position: 13th, 78 points

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Rast carved his way to the front of the field in the first race from a disappointing 12th on the grid after he struggled with understeer at Turn 4 in free practice and qualifying.

After getting squeezed at Turn 1 and losing some positions he grabbed an early attack mode. This was always going to bite back and he dropped down from the top six to ninth but also took his now customary fastest lap point too.

Rast mirrored his ninth place on Sunday as he stuck to his own personal 2021 script by scything through the field, this time from the pitlane after Audi opted to bank him some energy and use late attack modes.

It was another drive indicative of Rast’s class this season, and naturally he took another fastest lap point, remarkably his sixth of the campaign!

Jaguar

Mitch Evans – 9

Finished: 3rd/Retired
Championship Position: 4th, 90 points

Fia Formula E Berlin Eprix

Evans continued his point accruing/title challenging form with another mature drive to a fifth podium of the season on Saturday.

Its basis came from a strong but not spectacular qualifying lap to start seventh. But it was in the race where Evans excelled. He cut through Vergne, da Costa, Rast and Nato to run third but came under intense pressure from Nato in the final stages of the race. He absorbed it brilliantly to tee-up a title crack on Sunday.

It all looked to be coming together until a suspected issue in his inverter rooted him to his grid box and he was clouted by an unsuspecting Mortara.

A bitter way to lose any chance of fighting for a title that many suspected Evans would have converted had he been given the chance.

Sam Bird – 8

Finished: Retired/7th
Championship Position: 6th, 87 points

Fia Formula E Berlin Eprix

Bird’s appalling luck this season returned once again when he retired with a suspected motor problem in his powertrain.

He’d been building a decent race from 15th grid position, which was three places back from 12th on the road after his London ‘Nato-clash’ penalty was applied, when the stoppage occurred.

Bird was magnificent in the race on Sunday as he fought his way up from 22nd to seventh, enjoying his strong finish to a maiden season at Jaguar.

It was though a bittersweet one after what once looked like a genuine title tilt petered out through misfortune and unreliability.

Porsche

Andre Lotterer – 7

Finished: 10th/4th
Championship Position: 17th, 58 points

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Lotterer, who started a lowly 15th, took an ultra-early attack boost on Saturday and it meant he cut through the pack to some extent. But this was diluted by the safety car coming out when he still had two minutes of the extra 35kW remaining.

He was confident of a much better result than a single point for 10th but ultimately he was unable to resist those who took later attack modes.

Lotterer had one of his best races of the campaign on Sunday. He was unfortunate to miss out on superpole by a slender margin but then battled hard in the race, especially with old nemesis Sims, to take fourth.

Pascal Wehrlein – 6

Finished: 21st/6th
Championship Position: 11th, 79 points

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Wehrlein’s race one qualifying lap was not his best but was still decent enough for a ninth place start and he made some good headway early on.

This all came to an end with contact against Rowland’s Nissan e.dams that caused a puncture and a pitstop. The safety car at least helped him catch the pack but he was unable to make much impression and ultimately raced with Alex Lynn and Oliver Turvey and was classified in 21st place.

Wehrlein was in the group fighting with team-mate Lotterer for much of the second race as he stayed in mathematical range of being able to deny de Vries his title should the Mercedes hit issues.

In reality Wehrlein was never going to pull that one off as he struggled with tyre wear in the final stages and was unable to get back on Lotterer’s tail due to a fired-up and ultra-defensive Sims.

Mahindra

Alexander Sims – 7

Finished: 17th/5th
Championship Position: 19th, 54 points

Formula E Berlin E Prix 2021

Sims had a difficult Saturday as he and the Mahindra team just struggled to sustain any kind of pace all day. It produced the expected lowly result with 17th.

The reverse track and many changes to his car overnight paid dividends on Sunday as Sims ended a barren run with a fine qualifying and superpole laps to start fourth.

The fear was that the heaviness over the Mahindra’s rear axle would again compromise tyre wear too much in the race but that never really came to pass and Sims drove forcefully but expertly to become a genuine podium contender.

Ultimately he just missed out after Vandoorne’s late attack strategy played out but a fighting fifth was a much needed tonic after a generally disappointing second half of the season for the Brit.

Alex Lynn – 6

Finished: 20th/13th
Championship Position: 12th, 78 points

Formula E Berlin E Prix 2021

Lynn’s final weekend for Mahindra was always going to be a tough one but he plugged away gamely over the course of the event but to little effect.

Saturday brought a troubled run to 20th after a mistake activating his FanBoost while in attack mode brought him a drive-through penalty.

Sunday produced a slightly better qualifying lap good enough for 14th but the race brought little joy despite his best efforts and it was a low-key 13th place finish that brought to an end an otherwise very strong season.

Venturi

Edoardo Mortara – 9

Finished: 2nd/Retired
Championship Position: 2nd, 92 points

Edoardo Mortara Venturi crash Berlin Formula E 2021

Mortara started and finished his season in hospital after two unbelievably unlucky accidents cruelly snuffed-out any hope of a cheeky title steal.

The Swiss/Italian was on fine form in qualifying on Saturday – starting fourth and then making his way through expertly to second, setting up a real chance of a title crack on Sunday.

It was halted in the worst possible circumstances as he collected Evans’s stopped Jaguar on the grid with the resulting impact ensuring a trip to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a small fracture on his spine.

It was beyond cruel for Mortara who will initially take little in the way of consolation in being runner-up this season, but in time will see it as a remarkable accomplishment.

Norman Nato – 9

Finished: 4th/1st
Championship Position: 18th, 54 points

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Nato had hands down his best weekend of the year in what ironically could well be his last in FE.

Fifth place on the grid for Saturday’s race was actually a little on the disappointing side after he made a small mistake at the final corner that possibly lost him a front-row start.

He regrouped for the race and was always in the mix at the front, taking advantage of others’ strategy errors to build a genuine tilt at the podium. It was only Evans’s defending brilliance that repelled that plan.

It all seemed to make Nato even more determined for Sunday, and once again he delivered in qualifying to make superpole.

But an issue with a connector rendered him immobile in the superpole session and he started sixth.

From the outset it was clear that Nato had a majorly quick Mercedes beneath him and he used it brilliantly to push to the front and stay there.

Rowland kept the pressure on at the second safety car restart but Nato’s confidence in the car and his energy management was never going to be resisted and he took a highly emotional victory as questions regarding his future in the championship abound.

Dragon Penske

Joel Eriksson – 6

Finished: 16th/16th
Championship Position: 25th, 1 point

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It was another challenging weekend for Eriksson but he did a very solid job again without ever getting within range of the point that fell his way in London.

Saturday’s error in qualifying rendered him at the very back of the grid but he was able to pass team-mate Sergio Sette Camara on the way to 16th position, which was the maximum he could have achieved in the circumstances.

He was three tenths off Sette Camara in his qualifying group on Sunday and he again started at the back, but his race mostly mirrored his previous day’s effort and the Swede was able to take Sette Camara and Cassidy to claim a fighting 16th.

Sergio Sette Camara – 5

Finished: 18th/18th
Championship Position: 22nd, 16 points

Formula E Berlin E Prix 2021

After last year’s Berlin heroics Sette Camara was unable to get on the radar for any giantkilling on this occasion as he and the team struggled to find genuine pace again from the Penske EV-5.

Largely uneventful races panned out on each of the days for the frustrated Brazilian and on both occasions tyre wear and the overall inefficiency of his powertrain scuppered any real competitive showing. It ended with a pair of 18th places.

NIO333

Oliver Turvey – 5

Finished: 19th/19th
Championship Position: 23rd, 13 points

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Saturday was a hard day at the office for Turvey, who was only able to start 20th. Despite some early progress he struggled to maintain the tyres and he came home a slightly dispirited 19th.

Hard work by Turvey and the NIO333 team brought much better pace on Sunday but such was the closeness of the times that it provided only a 20th place start despite him being just 0.2s off superpole!

Turvey’s race was relatively uneventful and only minimal progress could made. He came in an ultimately disappointing 19th despite feeling that he had actually driven a stronger race than the previous day.

Tom Blomqvist – 9

Finished: NC/10th
Championship Position: 24th, 6 points

Fia Formula E Berlin Eprix

Blomqvist made an excellent start to Saturday’s race and was running 14th when he was hit and half-spun by Lotterer just 10 minutes in.

The damage caused a broken trackrod but the team changed it and set about gaining data for Sunday.

This contributed to one of Blomqvist’s best performances of the season with astonishingly committed qualifying and superpole laps to start a best ever fifth.

His race was consistently excellent too as he initially held a position on merit in the top 10, executing a fine strategy from his team.

It looked like it wouldn’t be rewarded but the Rast and Vergne contretemps on the final lap brought a richly merited point.

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