Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) strode to a dominant lights-to-flag win in the SABIC London E-Prix Round 13 to make it two wins in two years on home turf for the Brit at the ExCeL.
Dennis was able to cover off the early advances of standings leader Stoffel Vandoorne, with the Mercedes-EQ driver content to play it cool to come home second for a 17th Formula E poidum, with his closest championship rivals marooned down the pack. In fact, by the end of the first lap both Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) and Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) had been in the wars, with Mortara forced to pit and entirely out of the fight.
RESULTS: The SABIC London E-Prix Round 13
Reigning champion Nyck de Vries played rear gunner for Vandoorne to occupy a racy Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) as the Kiwi chased more silverware towards the end of the race but the Dutchman was able to hold fast for a podium. Cassidy would settle for fourth after clambering through the pack with relative ease, heading home Oliver Askew who made it two Andrettis in the top five.
Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) was able to scrap to solid points and sixth and was the best of the rest top four title contenders heading into the weekend, with Vergne unable to free himself from the midfield mire in 13th and Mortara squarely last after that Lap 1 contact.
That left the advantage firmly with Vandoorne in the Drivers' World Championship as an 11-point margin became a 26-point lead, now over Evans after Mortara's woes. In the Teams' running, Mercedes-EQ stretches its legs to a 37-point gap on DS TECHEETAH.
As it happened...
With the atmosphere bouncing in the ExCeL and the five red lights out, Dennis was immediately forced into countering Vandoorne’s advances off the line – the Brit holding on into Turn 1.
As the pack filtered through that tight Turn 1 and 2 things concertinaed with both Jaguars coming together and Sam Bird (Jaguar TCS Racing) had his car half turned around amd terminally damaged. Mortara was caught up in all that, too, with his whole front wing ending up underneath and separated from his car. A pit stop was required and that meant the Swiss would likely non-score. That could well mark the end of his title tilt.
On Lap 3, it was as you were in the top eight but a lap later, Sergio Sette Camara (DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT) seized the initiative and looked on the pace up front as he sliced by de Vries for third and provisional silverware. Some move, and the Brazilian had eyes on the lead pair with nothing to lose.
That same lap, Vergne clipped his teammate da Costa into the complex, leaving both outside the points as Buemi made it by. Dennis headed Vandoorne, Sette Camara, de Vries, Askew, Guenther, Cassidy, Lotterer, Frijns and the Nissan e.dams of Buemi.
Two ATTACK MODES with a six minute, 13% power boost was the order of the day, with Frijns the first to jump through the loop in a net ninth. That set off a flurry of activations with several following Frijns on Lap 7. The lead trio waited for one another to blink, though.
Sure enough, all three jumped through the activation zone a lap later, with Sette Camara falling behind de Vries – who was the fastest on track at the time. The top four began to break away through that first round of activations, with Askew 1.5 seconds back with the rest of the top 10 nose to tail.
Into the second round of activations, de Vries in third and Sette Camara fourth – after the Dutchman’s successful undercut – went first, leaving leader Dennis and Vandoorne to move next and on Lap 17 they did, with the pair holding first and second.
Inside the last 10 minutes plus one lap and Dennis looked to have things under control out front as he did here last year. The Brit had Vandoorne at arms’ length with de Vries third. Cassidy in the Envision Racing machine, meanwhile, was making moves – beyond Askew for fifth first and then Sette Camara for fourth spot.
On Lap 31, Evans put his foot down in a bid to close the gap to Vandoorne in the standings – dispatching Sette Camara for seventh as the Brazilian’s usable energy began to wane. Fifth wasn’t out of the question with Guenther and Askew in his sights.
Evans was able to dispatch the German on the final lap with energy marginal while Sette Camara slipped to 17th as his usable energy ran dry.
Dennis took the chequered flag to the delight of the home crowd but Vandoorne will be more than happy with second - extending his lead at the top of the standings in a big way over now nearest rival Evans. De Vries steered home third, Cassidy fourth, Askew fifth and Evans sixth.
*Updated results below, accounting for post-race penalties.