Mercedes driver de Vries takes the lead in Formula E
After races 12 and 13 of the season in London, Mercedes-EQ driver Nyck de Vries has taken the lead in the Formula E World Championship. Two 2nd places were enough for the Dutch driver. The races were won by Jake Dennis in the BMW and Alex Lynn in the Mahindra.
Thus, both race wins went to British drivers. Although he leaves London without a winner’s trophy, de Vries was the big winner of the race weekend: Before the final weekend in Berlin with two races again, the Mercedes driver has increased his points tally to 95 with 2x 18 points – he thus leads ahead of Envision Virgin driver Robin Frijns (89 points) and Sam Bird. The Jaguar driver had taken the championship lead after his victory in New York, but dropped out in both rounds at his home race.
The special feature of the new track in London: The start-finish straight and some corners were indoors, as was the pit lane. This was to play an important role in Race 13 on Sunday – more on that in a moment. The rest of the track led around the hall with some 90-degree bends, hairpins and fast corners.
The race win on Saturday went to BMW driver Jake Dennis, who has thus already won two races in his debut season. Second, as mentioned, was Nyck de Vries in the Mercedes-EQ, who had shown some strong overtaking manoeuvres in the race. Third was Alex Lynn in the Mahindra ahead of André Lotterer in the Porsche. Lynn had been dueling with Dennis for the race win for a long time before he made a small mistake when activating the Attack Mode. Lotterer also made a mistake here, which cost the Porsche driver the chance of a podium.
On Sunday, the Briton Lynn did better with his Indian electric race car and won the race ahead of de Vries. His team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne had started the race from pole position, but retired after a collision with the Nissan e.dams of Oliver Rowland through no fault of his own. Third place went to New Zealander Mitch Evans in the Jaguar.
The controversy of the weekend: During a safety car phase shortly before the end of the race, in which overtaking is prohibited, the Audi team called Lucas di Grassi, who had been sixth, into the pits. The trick was that the pit lane with the special track layout through the hall was shorter than the track itself. The Brazilian driver di Grassi was thus able to pass the field and take the lead despite the speed limit of 50 km/h in the pit lane.
The catch is that, according to the rules, a driver has to stop just outside his pit lane when driving through it during a safety car phase. Di Grassi, however, did not come to a complete stop, but still rolled minimally. That was enough for the pit stop not to be legal in this form – for which the race control imposed a penalty. Since the Audi team considered itself to be in the right and did not inform di Grassi about the penalty (and he consequently did not take it), di Grassi crossed the finish line first in Sunday’s race but was immediately disqualified.
In the championship, behind the trio of de Vries, Frijns and Bird, BMW driver Jake Dennis is tied on points with Bird (81 points) ahead of last year’s champion Felix Antonio da Costa in the DS Techeetah (80 points), Sunday’s winner Lynn (78 points), Nick Cassidy in the Envision Virgin (76 points), Evans (75 points) and Venturi driver Edoardo Mortara on 74 points. With up to 58 points still possible at the final race weekend in Berlin (25 points each for a race win, three points for pole position and one point for the fastest race lap), numerous drivers still have the chance to call themselves Formula E World Champions.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.