The Craziest Race in Formula E history
We have just 3 more races left of the 2020/21 Formula E season but after today’s London E-Prix we will have only 2. We’re in the British capital for the second of two races this weekend at ExCel Circuit for the first-ever indoor-outdoor Formula E circuit.
Written by Olly Radley, Edited by Bruna Brito
On pole, it’s Mercedes-EQ driver, Stoffel Vandoorne who put it on pole from Group 2. Oliver Rowland starts P2 and Alex Lynn who was on pole yesterday starts 3rd. De Vries had a brilliant qualifying session this morning getting into Superpole from Group 1 along with his teammate and Jaguar’s Mitch Evans starts 5th. The Teams’ Championship leaders, DS Techeetah start from 22nd and 23rd behind the championship leader, Sam Bird who starts 21st.
As the 5 red lights dropped we didn’t see any movement in the pack other than Mitch Evans getting a bit tense through the first few corners. Around 5 minutes into the race, Nyck De Vries made a bodacious move into Turn 10 on Alex Lynn for the podium place in P3. Once De Vries made that overtake he gained another position due to Rowland ahead taking his first attack mode. A lap later, Vandoorne followed suit, keeping position, but Rowland regained his 2nd place as De Vries also took his first attack mode.
With around 35 minutes to go, we saw a very bizarre incident between Sebastian Buemi and René Rast. It all began when Buemi ran straight into the back of Rast into T10 and then shunted the German into the wall on exit, Rast accumulated lots of damage from this and seemed to drive straight back into Buemi due to some sort of damage to his car. The incident left plenty of debris strewn across the track and Rast’s race over. The safety car was deployed to remove the stricken Audi and a 10-second stop-and-go penalty was given to Buemi.
The safety car returned to the pits just a lap later and once Oliver Rowland’s attack mode ran out he was pounced on by De Vries behind, making it a Mercedes 1-2. Vandoorne then took his final attack mode with 30-minutes remaining.
This was the last minute of the same moment of the London E-Prix. From this point on, chaos ensued. Down the start/finish straight, André Lotterer pincered championship contender Antonio Felix Da Costa into the wall, which ended the Portugueseman’s race and gave Lotterer a drive-through penalty. A safety car was required to retrieve the DS Techeetah from the wall at Turn 1. During the safety car, Lucas Di Grassi, who was in a comfortable position, drove through the pitlane, which was faster than staying out on track, and by doing so, took the lead of the E-Prix – a long investigation was launched for this. On the safety car restart, Stoffel Vandoorne, who had been jumped by Di Grassi, was whacked out of contention by Oliver Rowland behind as he locked up trying to defend. Rowland got damage and a 5-second time penalty.
Di Grassi and Lynn then took their attack mode behind De Vries who inherited the lead, and the pair overtook the Dutchman, putting De Vries in 3rd. Evans and Frijns engaged in a battle, in which the Kiwi missed Attack mode the first time round, but overtook the Dutchman once he did take attack mode.
Race control then dealt Di Grassi a drive-through penalty for his pit overtakes maneuver, but his team, Audi, didn’t tell him. Instead, we saw videos of Alan McNish, Audi Team Principal, sprinting to the stewards to argue the penalty. His point was that Di Grassi stopped in the lane and so it was a legal stop.
Then Bird and Nato started a battle as Nato desperately defended into Turn 10 as Bird went for an overtake and pushed Bird straight into the wall at the apex. The crash locked their wheels but miraculously they carried on.
As the clock hit zero and the final lap began, Lucas Di Grassi did not pull into the pits and so after he crossed the line he was shown the black flag by the stewards. Because of this, Alex Lynn, who failed to take his win after pole yesterday, inherited the win and takes his first-ever win in Formula E at his home race. De Vries came home 2nd and takes the championship lead with 2 rounds to go. Mitch Evans got 3rd place ahead of Robin Frijns.
Lynn seemed to lack race pace yesterday eventually finishing 3rd behind De Vries, today he was brilliant behind the wheel of his Mahindra and confidently took his first-ever win after Di Grassi was black-flagged on the final lap. Nyck De Vries of course came second after bending his steering early on in the race. Evans got caught up with Max Gunther on the second safety car restart and spent a large part of the race without a wheel cover. Robin Frijns came 4th with the fastest lap, taking 13 points and moving into 2nd in the championship. Jake Dennis was on for a good result but served a drive-through late on, ruining his chance of points from 17th on the grid. Sam Bird picked up a grid penalty for his crash with Nato late on.
In the championship now, Nyck De Vries leads into the final 2 races in Berlin with 95 points, ahead of Frijns who’s up to 2nd with 89 points. Sam Bird remains 3rd with 81 points despite getting a DNF again this weekend and Jake Dennis picked up only 2 points moving him into 4th and joint on points with Bird. Da Costa remains on 79 points after he was wiped out by Lotterer and now Alex Lynn is up to 6th after his win today from 15th.
We had a cracking race today and in my eyes, it was the craziest race in Formula E history. That’s it for 3 weeks, we’ll see you again in Berlin for the Season 7 finale, anyway from me it’s bye for now.