Jake Dennis and Alex Lynn both celebrate home victories in a pair of dramatic and chaotic races at the Excel exhibition centre.
British drivers shone in the ABB Formula E World Championship’s return to London after a break of five years, with BMW’s Jake Dennis and Mahindra’s Alex Lynn each taking a win in the double-header event.
While Dennis took a dominant victory, Lynn’s win came in more controversial circumstances after race leader Lucas di Grassi was disqualified for failing to serve a drive-through penalty.
Mercedes racer Nyck de Vries also shone on the tight and twisting 21-turn, 2.25km circuit that snaked around and through the Excel London exhibition centre, taking a pair of second place finishes to vault into the championship lead with just two rounds of the season remaining.
The two races both unfolded in dramatically different fashion: Saturday’s event was relatively calm while Sunday’s outing was utterly chaotic, with multiple controversial clashes and incidents.
We’ve already explained why the London E-Prix’s unusual circuit was a success, so here are the other major talking points from the weekend.
Dennis dominates the opener
Lynn caused a major upset by claiming pole position for Saturday’s race, but it was clear early on that the 27-year-old’s Mahindra wasn’t the fastest car in race trim. Lynn did an admirable job to fend off Dennis early on, but then lost time with a lock-up at Turn 10.
Dennis responded by using his Attack Mode boost to pump out a series of qualifying-style laps, which was enough to keep him ahead of Lynn. From there Dennis pulled well clear of his rivals, becoming just the second driver this season to win multiple races and firmly establishing himself in the title fight.
De Vries charged up the order after a disappointing qualifying, and a bold late-race move on Lynn secured him second.
Lynn storms back on Sunday
Lynn proved that his Saturday pace wasn’t a fluke by qualifying third behind Mercedes racer Stoffel Vandoorne and Nissan’s Oliver Rowland.
The race was utterly chaotic, with two early safety cars after incidents. During one, Audi racer di Grassi took to the pits when the safety car emerged. He stopped briefly in his pit, but vaulted from ninth to first due to the slow safety car and short pit lane.
The stewards determined he hadn’t stopped for long enough and gave him a drive through penalty, but the team – feeling they had followed the rules – didn’t tell him to stop. Di Grassi continued in the lead, but after ignoring the penalty was eventually excluded from the race.
While running behind di Grassi, Vandoorne and Rowland then clashed fighting for second, which put Lynn into the lead. He then held off de Vries for his first Formula E victory after 40 race starts.
The di Grassi controversy was far from the only drama in the second race, which ended with the bulk of the field sporting some form of bodywork damage. One notable non-finisher was reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa, whose DS Techeetah was forced out after a clash with Porsche’s Andre Lotterer.
Jaguar’s homecoming horror
Jaguar Racing’s first home race for 14 years was not one that the team will want to remember. Sam Bird entered the event leading the championship, but was taken out of the first race on the opening lap. Team-mate Mitch Evans fared little better, with an opening lap clash forcing him to pit for a new nose and dropping him to the back. The fastest lap was scant consolation.
Evans had a far better time in the second race, threading his way through the chaos to finish third. Bird also worked his way through the pack, but a clash with Norman Nato put him out of the race. The result was that Bird dropped from first to third in the standings, 14 points adrift of de Vries.