Felix Rosenqvist had to make do with 11th place in a difficult Berlin E-Prix on Saturday, literally sliding out of contention at the first corner as he attempted an around-the-outside move for the top five.
Back at the site of his breakthrough maiden Formula E victory last year, Rosenqvist arrived in the German capital hoping to emulate his 2017 success, and also wound up a promising second fastest in free practice.
Qualifying then proved exceptionally close, with the entire 20-car field covered by less than one second around the Tempelhof circuit. Rosenqvist just missed out on a place in the top five Super Pole shootout by a tiny 0.01 seconds, putting him sixth on the grid for the 45-lap race.
At the start, Rosenqvist went for an aggressive outside lunge at Turn 1, although this backfired when he instead slid off the track on the marbles and dropped down to 15th place.
From there on, the race was fairly static, with the Swede unable to make much progress as he spent the remainder of the event largely in tandem with Mahindra Racing team-mate Nick Heidfeld.
The duo eventually came home tenth and 11th at the end of a lacklustre race, in which Rosenqvist at least could take some comfort from being among the three drivers to win FanBoost.
Daniel Abt won the Berlin E-Prix in front of his home crowd, as Audi secured a 1-2 with Lucas di Grassi taking second.
Rosenqvist remains third in the overall Formula E standings.
“It’s been a tough day overall,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “Qualifying was alright; I put in a good lap and it was disappointing to miss out on Super Pole. In the race, I decided it was worth a risk in Turn 1 to try and win back ground in the championship, but I locked up and slid wide on the marbles. It was a gamble and it was my fault, but I think we would have struggled today anyway; we finished 45 seconds behind the leaders so that’s something we need to look at. Thanks to the fans for voting in FanBoost – it’s always great to have that support. I think the pace was poor today and I really want to make up for that with some good results before the end of the season.”
The next round of Formula E will bear added historic significance, with the Zürich E-Prix on June 10 set to bring motor racing back to Switzerland for the very first time since the sport was outlawed in the country following the 1955 Le Mans disaster.
RESULTS (top five)
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
Race 9/12 | Berlin E-Prix
1: Daniel Abt (GER), 45 laps
2: Lucas di Grassi (BRA), +6.758s
3: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), +12.894s
4: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), +17.282s
5: Oliver Turvey (GBR), +19.620s
11: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +46.381s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 9/12 races
1: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 162 p.
2: Sam Bird (GBR), 122 p.
3: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 86 p.
4: Daniel Abt (GER), 85 p.
5: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), 82 p.