• 11th place for Stoffel Vandoorne, 18th place for Gary Paffett
  • Stoffel Vandoorne: "I think there were points there to be had."
  • Gary Paffett: "I am disappointed with my mistake."
  • Ulrich Fritz: "We must keep our heads up now."

Bern, 22nd June 2019 – Neither of the two HWA RACELAB drivers found themselves in ideal starting positions at the Julius Bär Swiss E-Prix. Unlike at recent rounds, Stoffel Vandoorne and Gary Paffett this time struggled in qualifying. They did not have the necessary pace on the unusual circuit through Bern city centre, which featured many uphill and downhill sections and a change in elevation of 50 metres. As such, they had to settle for 15th and 16th place on the grid.

The race was eventful from the word go: The first chicane was the scene of a multi-car collision, which blocked the way for the rest of the field. Stoffel reacted quickly and passed the chaos in the run-off area on the outside. This catapulted him into fifth place, before the race was interrupted to remove the cars from the track.

After a 35-minute break in the action, race control decided that the re-start with the 21 remaining cars would take place in the original grid order. Instead of starting from fifth, Stoffel restarted from 14th place. Gary resumed the race in 15th place.

However, Stoffel did not hang around in 14th place for long and launched a determined fightback. By the halfway point of the race, he had worked his way into tenth place thanks to several skilful overtaking manoeuvres. He held on to this position until two laps from the end, when he could not prevent Audi driver Lucas di Grassi from passing him in Attack Mode. It was at precisely this point that it started to rain heavily, making it more difficult for Stoffel to launch a counterattack on the slippery track. In the end, he came home eleventh and narrowly missed out on a points finish.

Gary was initially running 15th until he made contact with the crash barriers in a corner and had to come into the pits with a puncture. The necessary tyre change cost the DTM champion a lot of time and he eventually crossed the finish line in 18th place.

Quotes on the race

Stoffel Vandoorne (27, Belgium, car number 5), 11th place
"So close to the points. That is a real shame. I fought hard and pulled off a few good overtaking manoeuvres. I felt the pace was better than in qualifying, which is positive. However, it is disappointing not to have come away with some points today. They were there to be had."

Gary Paffett (38, England, car number 17), 18th place
"That was a very tough race. The position was not bad after the re-start, but it is relatively difficult to overtake here. I tried to stay in touch, but picked up a puncture on the wall and had to come into the pits. I am disappointed with my mistake. We wanted to score points today, but unfortunately that was not to be."

Ulrich Fritz, Team Principal HWA RACELAB
"That was a chaotic race, with all the incidents and the red flag. Fortunately, we avoided any larger problems in the crash on the opening lap, but it was not easy for our two drivers out there today. We struggled for pace all day. Stoffel narrowly missed out on the top ten and Gary had to come into the pits with a puncture after he touched the wall. After that, the race was over for him. We must keep our heads up now and focus on the final race weekend of the season."

The 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship draws to a close with two races in New York City on 13th and 14th July.