Dennis takes lights-to-flag victory in collision-heavy first London EPrix

Formula E

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Jake Dennis won the first London EPrix of the weekend having taken a confident pole and led every lap, while rivals behind him clashed.

Dennis had taken his second career pole, beating Stoffel Vandoorne in the qualifying final. Nyck de Vries and Sergio Sette Camara made up the second row, the Dragon driver having put in an impressive one-lap performance despite an uncompetitive race car.

Attack Mode was set for two activations of six minutes for the first race of the double-header. Teams had been informed the previous day that usable energy for the London races would be limited to 46kWh, a six kilowatt hour reduction from the usual race allowance.

Sam Bird, Mitch Evans and Edoardo Mortara collided at the start, with bodywork flying from the Venturi and Bird immediately out of the race after the first corner. Mortara also plummeted down the order, forced into the pits with damage and with large chunks of carbon fibre from his front wing, including the wheel covers, strewn along the pit straight.

At the start of lap four, Sette Camara managed a move up the inside of turn one to rob De Vries of third. The Mercedes driver had locked up severely on the previous lap while going through the Custom House section.

Oliver Rowland and Lucas di Grassi came together at the start of lap five, with Rowland’s front right wheel cover joining the accumulated carbon fibre decorating the track.

De Vries was the first of the top four to activate Attack Mode, claiming third back from Sette Camara when the Dragon driver went to activate his. Dennis and Vandoorne followed each other through the activation zone, staying in order and Sette Camara was unable to overtake De Vries again during their first Attack Mode phase.

Drivers started going for their second activations with 23 minutes remaining, with second-placed Vandoorne instructed to go before Dennis, but Dennis managing to cover him off.

Rowland slowed down and retired from the race with 21 minutes to go, his car visibly damaged from the earlier contact. Sebastian Buemi was given a five-second time penalty for contact with Jean-Eric Vergne, one of many drivers missing parts of bodywork with less than 17 minutes left. Robin Frijns was also hit with a five-second time penalty for moving under braking later in the race and Antonio Giovinazzi given the same for causing a collision with Oliver Turvey. Giovinazzi subsequently became the third retiree from the race. Jean-Eric Vergne was also penalised for a collision with Alexander Sims.

Sette Camara had looked set to score the first points for he and Dragon of 2022 but came to a heart-breaking halt on the final lap, while Maximilian Gunther crawled over the line, giving sixth to Mitch Evans. Evans’ recovery from 14th in qualifying to sixth in the race keeps him in vital title contention, while Mortara finished more than a minute off the lead, his own hopes of challenging Vandoorne for the title suffering a heavy blow.

Dennis crossed the line comfortably ahead, taking a second home victory and third career win in Formula E. Vandoorne and De Vries joined him on the podium, with Dennis also taking points for fastest lap.

Vandoorne is now 26 points ahead of Evans in the championship standings, with three races remaining in the season.

1Jake DennisAndretti
2Stoffel VandoorneMercedes EQ
3Nyck de VriesMercedes EQ
4Nick CassidyEnvision
5Oliver AskewAndretti
6Mitch EvansJaguar
7Antonio Felix da CostaDS Techeetah
8Maximilian GüntherNissan e.Dams
9Lucas di GrassiVenturi
10Pascal WehrleinPorsche
11Sebastien BuemiNissan e.Dams
12Andre LottererPorsche
13Jean-Eric VergneDS Techeetah
14Alexander SimsMahindra
15Oliver TurveyNIO 333
16Robin FrijnsEnvision
17Dan TicktumNIO 333
18Edoardo MortaraVenturi
DNFSergio Sette CamaraDragon Penske
DNFAntonio GiovinazziDragon Penske
DNFOliver RowlandMahindra
DNFSam BirdJaguar

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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6 comments on “Dennis takes lights-to-flag victory in collision-heavy first London EPrix”

  1. As a member of the home crowd, it was an enjoyable victory. However, as the second FE race I’ve attended (after the ePrix in Battersea Park) I was a bit disappointed by the organisation. Over 3 hours between the end of qualifying and the race, but a very sparse village area. The main activity (the eSports gaming area) closed for no apparent reason 90 minutes before the race start. Why is there no support race? Surely a single-make, tintop electric car series could fill the time?

    There are numerous factory teams, but there’s absolutely zero leverage of their brands. I’ve seen Mercedes lead the championship and have a double podium, maybe I should look at what their electric road cars are like, but there’s nothing. How expensive can it be to park up your latest electric road car in the hall and have a few reps telling you all about it? Same for Porsche, Jaguar, DS, etc.

    We just left the whole arena, took the DLR somewhere else for lunch, and came back for the start of the race. Why put these races in cities and try to encourage a new audience if the things around the main show are so average, with zero marketing effort for the $$$ spent by the manufacturers on their racecars?

    1. RandomMallard
      31st July 2022, 13:32

      @f1hornet As someone else who was there yesterday, I completely agree about the village. I think a big part of the problem was the area they were given was way too big for what they actually needed. I don’t know how big the different units are but surely they could used a slightly smaller area and at least make it feel a bit busier. Also, when you have an exhibition on at Excel, they will often give the space a lot more TLC, while this felt very dark and unloved (it was basically just a plain warehouse).

    2. RandomMallard
      31st July 2022, 13:34

      @f1hornet Also they did used to have a one-make tintop series to fill the time (the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy) but it fell victim to the pandemic as far as I can tell.

  2. I know that the racing calendar is conjested and sometimes you simply can’t avoid a clash, but really annoys me that not only is FE on an F1 weekend, but BOTH races are a direct clash. How mad is that? Surely FE could be an hour earlier or an hour later so as not to split the audience.
    I’ll try catch up and watch this race tomorrow between F3 and F2!

  3. RandomMallard
    31st July 2022, 13:42

    I was at the race this year for my first live motorsport (beyond watching the Formula Student at Silverstone a few weeks ago – a great day out but a very different style/format) in over 3 years, which was great. I was sat at the turn 16 hairpin, right in front of the attack mode activation point, which was a very good spot I thought. See my reply above for my thoughts on the off-track side of stuff. The on track stuff itself though was great, and I found myself enjoying the duels much more than I expected (and I already quite liked the format).

    The race itself, while not the most dramatic in FE history, was very enjoyable in it’s own very Formula E style, with a combination of overtakes, weird attack mode lines, and near continuous punting. I was slightly surprised the safety car didn’t come out early on bc there was a lot of debris at several points. The race did feel very short though, and hopefully Gen 3 will make a difference here.

    What it has affirmed in my mind is that FE has it’s place. It’s place isn’t as a direct competitor to F1, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it does have it’s place. And things like duels and attack mode (but not Fanboost, get rid of it), have their place as well, and they suit FE’s style nicely. I wouldn’t want to see them in F1, but I’m fine with FE using them, because they’re not awful concepts when done right.

    1. I also enjoyed the on track action a lot. From where we were, we could see the huge bit of debris at turn two and were surprised there was neither a safety car nor a marshal immediately running on the track while there was a big gap and the field was still bunched up. How no one clunked it I don’t know. Eventually a brave marshal did run on and she got a huge cheer!

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