In the first of two races held at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport, Lopez narrowly missed out on a podium finish with fourth place, with team-mate Bird battling to P7.
The day began strongly for the team showing good pace in both of the morning’s free practice sessions, which continued through to qualifying. Indeed, both drivers made it through to the Super Pole shootout – the second time this season – with Lopez unbelievably missing out on the top spot by a mere thousandth of a second (the equivalent distance of 3cm) in Formula E’s closest ever qualifying session.
As the race got underway, Lopez unfortunately got a poor getaway allowing Bird – starting P5 – to go side-by-side into the first corner with the two emerging fourth and fifth respectively. The two DSV-02 cars ran nose-to-tail for the entire first half, pitting on lap 22, but whereas Lopez retained his P4 slot, Bird had to wait to avoid an unsafe release dropping him down the order.
Undeterred, Bird immediately gained a place back passing Abt driver Daniel Abt but the Briton struggled towards the end, holding on to cross the line P8. However, two post-race penalties for Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Renault e.dam’s Sebastien Buemi saw the Briton promoted to P7.
Lopez said: “I was very slow pulling away which cost me and then the Mahindra drivers were able to pull away so it was a good result considering. We’ve managed to be consistent in the last few races so the pace is there, we just need that extra step but if we keep going in this direction we’re going to have the victory we deserve. The team have done a great job and we have a ‘rematch’ tomorrow so we will work tonight to see where we can make improvements.”
Bird said: “It’s not been an ideal afternoon and we lost positions in the pit stop. We worked hard to gain the ground back up but we couldn’t make up any more places before the end. Tomorrow we need to work on qualifying at the front and to dictate the race from there so we’ll see what we can do.”
DS Virgin Team Principal Alex Tai said: “Following our podium in Paris last time out, the team have worked really hard to carry that momentum through to Berlin, which certainly showed in our pace, especially in qualifying! We know we have a quick car and will certainly be battling amongst the top three again tomorrow.”
Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Performance Director, added: “It was great to have both cars in the Super Pole so we’ll look to come out fighting tomorrow and aim to climb onto the podium. We will now focus on analysing the data from today to see where we can make improvements for tomorrow’s race, in particular around Lopez’s start and the race pace.”
Round eight of the Formula E series takes place tomorrow (June 11) at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport.