Felix Rosenqvist continued to set the pace in the 2017 Formula E Berlin ePrix on Sunday, taking the chequered flag in first place for the second day in succession – but losing a clean-sweep of victories due to a controversial time penalty.
Rosenqvist – who scored his first Formula E win in Saturday’s first race in the German capital – again featured at the very sharp end of the field in the second part of the double-header event on Sunday, storming to pole position with a smooth but efficient lap in qualifying.
The Swedish Mahindra Racing rookie then went on to control the longest (at over 100 km) Formula E race in history from start to finish, leading home reigning champion Sébastien Buemi (SUI) as the duo left their rivals firmly behind.
However, an incident during the compulsory pit stop phases saw Rosenqvist and team-mate Nick Heidfeld (GER) accidentally obstructing each other in a confused moment, with the stewards deciding to hand Rosenqvist’s side of the garage a ten-second time penalty for an unsafe release.
While Rosenqvist maintained his lead despite the pit stop mishap and went on to win on the road, Buemi effectively inherited victory once Rosenqvist’s penalty was applied.
Thanks to a considerable gap to third-placed Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), however, Rosenqvist was still classified in second place.
“I think in a couple of hours I’ll look back at this in a different frame of mind, but right now I’m very disappointed,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “We won this race out on track but lost it to some paperwork, and it’s just hard to take. I need to look into that pit stop situation more closely, but I honestly don’t know what I could have done differently and I do think it was a harsh penalty. I would have preferred for the race to be settled on track, but rules are rules and we have to respect them and accept it.”
Despite the Sunday anti-climax, Rosenqvist leaves Germany more than pleased with his overall results on the best weekend so far for him and Mahindra Racing in Formula E.
With one win, one second place and one pole position, Rosenqvist was the highest points-scorer of the event, propelling him to third place in the overall standings. He also leads the way among the rookies, with triple world touring car champion José María López (ARG) his nearest challenger in seventh place.
“All in all, this has been a fantastic weekend,” Rosenqvist concludes. “We have made that step that we’ve been waiting for recently, piecing together practice, qualifying and the races at one and the same time – and I think the results speak for themselves.
“We have made an almost perfect job and we can be really proud about what we have achieved. It’s a pleasure to be a part of this small but growing team, and all the guys really deserve this. I think we reached a new level this weekend and hopefully we’ll be able to maintain this kind of performance over the final part of the season.”
Felix Rosenqvist now travels straight from Berlin to Le Mans, France, where he is set to make his debut in the city’s legendary 24-hour sports car race next weekend. Practice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans begins on Wednesday, with Rosenqvist racing an LMP2 ORECA 07 Gibson for the DragonSpeed team.
RESULTS (top five)
FIA Formula E Championship
Berlin ePrix (Race 2), Germany
1: Sébastien Buemi (SUI), 46 laps
2: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +7.195s
3: Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), +10.862s
4: Daniel Abt (GER), +13.631s
5: José María López (ARG), +20.324s
FIA Formula E Championship
After 8/12 races
1: Sébastien Buemi (SUI), 157 p.
2: Lucas di Grassi (BRA), 125 p.
3: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 86 p.
4: Nicolas Prost (FRA), 72 p.
5: Nick Heidfeld (GER), 63 p.