Formula 1 reject Stoffel Vandoorne handed Mercedes a first Formula E victory on Thursday as the all-electric series wrapped up its season in Berlin.
The ex-McLaren F1 driver led teammate Nyck De Vries in a one-two finish from pole position at the German capital’s former Tempelhof airport. Sebastien Buemi was third for Nissan e.dams.
“Phew! What a relief! All the pressure just melted away once I’d crossed the finish line,” said Vandoorne, who will now head to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix to fill his role as Mercedes F1 reserve.
“That was pretty much the perfect race. On previous occasions, I’ve often got close to finishing on the podium, but unfortunately, it just never happened for me, so it feels really good to have finally succeeded to conclude this long and gruelling marathon.
“We did well with energy management, and I was able to keep closing on Stoffel towards the end of the race. Our strategy paid off in this instance. Overtaking is harder on this track 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.
“I wasn’t completely free of error this week, so it feels really great to hit back with such an amazing race today. The season was a little bit of a roller-coaster for me, so it’s nice to end it with my first podium, our first one-two win and P3 in the team championship.
“I think we really deserved this result and I’m very pleased for the whole team. We couldn’t have wished for a better end to our season before this final round kicked off.”
The title had already been won by DS Techeetah’s Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa, with Vandoorne securing the runner-up position — a point ahead of DS Techeetah’s outgoing champion Jean-Eric Vergne.
Second and sixth positions overall were separated by just 10 points.
Mercedes, the dominant force in Formula 1, made their debut in the electric series this season and finished third overall in the teams’ championship.
Minutes after the end of the race, the Monaco-based Venturi team announced Brazilian former F1 driver Felipe Massa was leaving with a year remaining on his contract.
“The past two seasons have been a big learning curve for us all and unfortunately, for various reasons, we haven´t quite achieved what we hoped,” said the 39-year-old after ending the season 22nd overall.