Lucas Di Grassi secured his first ABB FIA Formula E World Championship win of the season in a dramatic second race of the 2022 SABIC London E-Prix double-header.
It looked set to be a dream weekend for Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis in front of a packed-out home crowd, as the man from Nuneaton started on pole in search of back-to-back victories in London only for former champion Di Grassi to spoil the Brit’s party by taking victory from second-place in Round 14 at the ExCeL London.
The lead changed hands between Di Grassi and Dennis several times as attack mode came into play, but it was the 37-year-old from Sao Paulo whose strategy won out as he was able to get out in front and then show his experience to hold on until the chequered flag.
It was a great race too, to cap off a great weekend, for Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne who finished in fourth and extended his lead at the top of the Drivers Championship standings to 36 points with 58 to play for after fellow title challengers Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing), Jean-Eric Vergne and Edoardo Mortara failed to register a point. Evans in particular was left heartbroken after a mechanical failure saw his car power down with just minutes left from the race sitting in fourth.
But the day went to Di Grassi, finishing ahead of Dennis and Nyck de Vries who rounded out the podium, and he was quick to credit his team for a pitch-perfect race strategy after a wonderful performance.
“It means everything,” said Di Grassi. “Thank you everybody for being here. Congratulations to all my competitors, all the great drivers out there. It was a massive fight with Jake. It was very strategic – using attack mode at the right moment, saving energy at the right moment. The team gave me the perfect feedback. The car was amazing today and after what happened yesterday, I think we deserve it very much.
“It depends really how you use energy as well - it’s not only attack mode. So today, we used attack mode to create the right energy buffer and then when the time was right, we used the energy and opened the gap and just kept it from there.
“Jake was struggling a little bit to the rear of his car I think and I saw that if I could push for two or three laps was enough because here was very hard to overtake. So thanks to the guys that made it the perfect car today.”
Di Grassi emerged from the last of three mandatory attack mode activations with enough in-hand to ensure he would make it by in-form Jake Dennis when the Brit jumped for his last 30kW boost. Home-crowd favourite Dennis had followed up yesterday’s win with a start from Julius Bär Pole Position but the Brazilian stretched his advantage over the final few laps into TAG Heuer Added Time to take the chequered flag.
Nyck de Vries came home third, while his Mercedes-EQ teammate - standings leader Stoffel Vandoorne - clambered to fourth from 13th on the grid. His closest title rival Mitch Evans had made his way as high as fourth from 14th at the start of the race but a late technical problem prematurely ended his London race and dealt a hammer blow to his title chances with retirement from proceedings and a non-score.
Edoardo Mortara did his utmost to claim points from 17th on the grid but a scrappy, combative performance could only yield 13th position. Jean-Éric Vergne retired early on, seemingly in contact, all but ending his Drivers’ World Championship charge.
António Félix da Costa fought to fifth in the sister DS TECHEETAH, with Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) producing his second-best result of Season 8 in sixth, Robin Frijns (Envision Racing) seventh and Sam Bird in eighth for Jaguar TCS Racing on home soil.
Sérgio Sette Câmara finally earned the first points of the season for his DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT’s team after yesterday running out of usable energy at the death in Round 13 despite hassling the top four throughout. Pascal Wehrlein rounded out the top 10 for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem attended his first ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race since taking over the presidency in December 2021. He met executives, Team Principals and drivers from across the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship before being welcomed to the podium to present the winning trophy to di Grassi.
It now looks to be a head-to-head between Evans and Vandoorne for the title with 58 points on offer in two weeks at the Hana Bank Seoul E-Prix double-header weekend, the final two races of Season 8 in the 16-race calendar The Belgian now holds a commanding 36-point margin over the Jaguar driver in the points table.
ROKiT Venturi Racing jumped DS TECHEETAH to go second in the Teams’ World Championship, though Mercedes-EQ extended its lead to 35 points.