Formula E headed into the final race of Season 7 at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport Circuit with no clear steer as to who would come away as the series first FIA World Champion. Both the Drivers' and Teams' titles were still wide open, with a number of contenders blanketed by just a few points.
Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) sat top of the Drivers' standings heading into the final round of the season but just nine points split the Dutchman and reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) after race one at Tempelhof.
Retaining his advantage looked about as far from a sure thing as is possible given just how close things were and the level of competition we'd seen throughout the prior 14 races of an incredibly hard-fought 2020/21 campaign.
As we went green for the final time in Season 7, drama immediately ensued with that start-line incident between the stranded Jaguar of Mitch Evans and an unsighted Edoardo Mortara.
Two of de Vries' closest rivals were out of the game prior to the start/finish, while a third in Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) would see his rookie season meet its fate in the wall at Turn 1 on the restart. Intense, and perhaps the break that left de Vries ending a "rollercoaster" season on the highest possible high with Formula E's first World Championship title.
"I’m emotional," said de Vries post-race in Berlin. "It’s been such a tough season with many highs and lows and everyone’s been in that same boat – it was a rollercoaster ride. Everything came down to the last race and I think we had a little fortune with everything that happened.
"I still need it to sink in; I don't quite realise it yet. It's 10 years ago that I won a world championship in 2010 and 11 in karting, then the title in 2019 in Formula 2. No one can take this away from me and that's what counts."
"With everyone basically being in contention going into the last race, and with everything so open, I just feel very, very grateful that the fortune has chosen us, I think we drove an incredibly strong race where everything came together for us, and I'm proud of that.
"I’m happy everyone was okay after the incident at the start but they deserved to fight for their chance. Even so, I think we drove an incredible race - we have a really good base with this car."
Mercedes-EQ also sealed the Teams' World Championship, with Stoffel Vandoorne steering his Silver Arrow 02 to a podium and thanks in part to Jaguar and Evans' start-line troubles. No less than a "close, hard-working" team deserve says the champion.
"I'm glad that we also managed to clinch the Teams’ championship to give everyone the reward they deserved.
"I think you could see how the relationship between the team and myself was and how close we are – really working together to achieve the best team result.
"Everyone pushed really, really hard and everyone worked day and night and I'm just very grateful to give this kind of reward to the team. We are full of respect for each other. Ultimately, we’re hard workers."
Published on 17th August 2021
"The championship is extremely competitive. Even this weekend, on day one, the track evolution wasn't that big but if you have a bad day, you're at the back of the grid. It's so close that whatever happened, you will see a lot of different people performing and doing well. It’s just unpredictable, that's the reality.
"There are a lot of good teams, a lot of good drivers, and that's the result in an extremely tight fight. I've felt a lot of different emotions throughout the whole season. I've aged more. I've got grey hair. So I hope things become a little more normal in the future!"