BMW i Andretti Motorsport's Jake Dennis was the class of the field in the Heineken® London E-Prix Round 12, leading home Mercedes-EQ's Nyck de Vries and Mahindra Racing's Alex Lynn by more than a five-second margin for victory on home soil.
Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) strode to a serene victory in his home E-Prix in London, with a masterful performance that saw him finish five seconds clear of second-placed Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) and countryman Alex Lynn (Mahindra Racing).
Dennis broke free of early leader Lynn having pinched the initiative during the second round of ATTACK MODE activations. From there, the Brit cooly strode away from the rest - strong on energy management as the most effective driver on regen through the encounter - mirroring the first win of his rookie Formula E campaign back in Valencia.
That top score catapults Dennis into second in the Drivers' table after standings leader Sam Bird (Jaguar Racing) was forced into retirement after contact on a congested opening lap.
De Vries clambered through the pack from ninth to claw himself back into title contention and haul Mercedes-EQ up a spot in the Teams' running. Lynn led for a significant portion of the race but a costly lock-up at Turn 10, with Dennis still to take his second ATTACK MODE activation, handed the initative to his compatriot. The Mahindra racer would have to settle for third.
Nissan e.dams Sebastien Buemi wound up fourth, with Porsche's Andre Lotterer fending off the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler pair of Rene Rast and Lucas di Grassi for fifth.
Mercedes-EQ's Stoffel Vandoorne leapt from 14th to finish eighth, and reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) did likewise, winding up ninth from 17th on the grid - vital points towards his title defence with Bird's non-finish. Buemi's Nissan teammate Oliver Rowland rounded out the top 10.
The Heineken® London E-Prix Round 13 follows tomorrow, with Free Practice 3 from 08:00 BST, followed by qualifying at 10:00 and the race itself at 14:00.
Lynn jumped off the line and immediately covered the inside line to prevent Dennis’ advances with Buemi following in third. The pack filtered through a tight, narrow Sector 1 relatively cleanly, though Alexander Sims (Mahindra Racing) was an early casualty – suffering terminal damage in Turn 5 as the pack squeezed out of the indoor section of the ExCeL Circuit.
Come the end of the opening lap though, it emerged that standings leader Bird was also in trouble – his race coming to a premature end in the pit-lane after what looked like a nudge to the rear of his I-TYPE 5. A lap later, teammate Mitch Evans’ damaged front wing gave way forcing his a pit-stop for repairs. The worst possible start to Jaguar’s racing return on home soil after 17 years away.
The lead pack: Lynn from Dennis, Buemi, Lotterer, Sette Camara and Nato were largely as they’d started – with the Porsche jumping Sette Camara’s DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT machine for fourth. A little further back, reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa was one of the first to make the jump for his initial ATTACK MODE activation, making it by Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) and Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein for 13th then 12th in quick succession – the news that Bird and Evans were out of the race radioed in to the Portuguese who was looking to capitalise.
With 35 minutes plus one lap on the clock and having broken two seconds clear of third-placed Buemi, lead duo Lynn and Dennis jumped for their first mandatory 35kW ATTACK MODE activation – one of two eight-minute boosts required in London; double the usual allotted time.
The battle between de Vries, Sette Camara and countryman di Grassi heated up on Lap 6, with the Dutchman leapfrogging both Brazilians into fifth while they fought amongst themselves. Di Grassi didn’t take kindly to Sette Camara’s elbows out move and repaid the favour, slicing up the inside of the DRAGON machine into Turn 1 on Lap 7 for sixth spot. From there on in, Sette Camara slipped back down the pack – 12th just two laps later.
Come the second dose of ATTACK MODE for the leaders, Lynn jumped first, while Dennis held fire to take first on track. De Vries, meanwhile, looked to have pinched third from Buemi and Lotterer having leapt for ATTACK MODE a lap prior – they emerged ahead, though, despite the Dutchman’s engineer giving de Vries the hurry-up. A reprieve for the Mercedes man came with Lotterer missing the activation loop, though – meaning he'd snatch a net fourth.
Into the final 20 minutes and the cat and mouse battle up-front continued, with Dennis still to take his second ATTACK MODE boost. Crucially, Lynn locked up into Turn 10 on Turn 18, costing the Mahindra time having been right on Dennis' diffuser, allowing his countryman to extend his lead to the tune of some two seconds and retain the lead after diving through the ATTACK MODE loop a lap later.
From there, Dennis was in a race of his own – the most effective driver on regen and looking after his Michelin Pilot Sport EV tyres well. He was ultra-cool and ultra-confident on the grid ahead of the race and proved equally unflappable throughout Round 12.
De Vries made a late move down at the first hairpin for third, gazumping Buemi on Lap 26, and was with Lynn’s Mahindra come Lap 29; making a move stick for second down at Turn 11 by utilising the 20% power jolt offered up by FANBOOST. Lynn would have to settle for third, with Buemi following close by. Lotterer held off the Audi duo of Rast and di Grassi, while Vandoorne sliced through the pack from 14th to eighth.
Meanwhile, da Costa also made FANBOOST count late on to take ninth from Nato that same tour – nibbling more valuable points out of Drivers’ standings topper Bird who retired on Lap 1. Nissan e.dams' Rowland rounded out the top 10.
All that left Dennis two point behind Bird, with five points splitting the top five in the Drivers' table. DS TECHEETAH and Envision Virgin Racing find themselves joint-top of the Teams’ standings.