Dennis wins on home ground in London E-Prix Race 1

Andy Hone/Motorsport Images

Dennis wins on home ground in London E-Prix Race 1

Formula E

Dennis wins on home ground in London E-Prix Race 1

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Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) charged to a decisive victory in his home E-Prix in London, finishing five seconds clear of second-placed Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) and countryman Alex Lynn (Mahindra Racing) in the first of two ABB Formula E World Championship races on the unique indoor/outdoor ExCeL London circuit.

Dennis broke free of pole winner and early leader Lynn, having taken the initiative during the second round of Attack Mode 35kW power boost activations. From there, the Brit cooly strode away from the rest – strong on energy management as the most effective driver on regen through the encounter – mirroring the first win of his rookie Formula E campaign back in Valencia.

That top score catapults Dennis into second in the drivers’ standings after championship leader Sam Bird (Jaguar Racing) was forced into retirement after contact on a congested opening lap.

Lynn immediately covered the inside line at the start to prevent Dennis’ advances, with Buemi following in third. The pack filtered through a tight, narrow Sector 1 relatively cleanly, though Alexander Sims (Mahindra Racing) was an early casualty — suffering terminal damage in Turn 5 as the pack squeezed out of the indoor section of the 2.252km/1.4-mile ExCeL Circuit.

Come the end of the opening lap, it emerged that Bird was also in trouble — his race coming to a premature end in the pit-lane after what looked like a nudge to the rear of his I-TYPE 5. A lap later, teammate Mitch Evans’ damaged front wing gave way forcing his a pit stop for repairs — the worst possible start to Jaguar’s racing return on home soil after 17 years away.

Dennis leads Buemi. Andy Hone/Motorsport Images

The lead pack — Lynn Dennis, Buemi, Lotterer, Sette Camara and Nato — were largely as they’d started, with the Porsche jumping Sette Camara’s Dragon/Penske Autosport machine for fourth. A little further back, reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa was one of the first to make the jump for his initial Attack Mode activation, making it by Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) and Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein for 13th then 12th in quick succession.

With 35 minutes plus one lap on the clock and having broken two seconds clear of third-placed Buemi, lead duo Lynn and Dennis jumped for their first mandatory Attack Mode activation — one of two eight-minute boosts required in London, double the usual allotted time.

The battle between de Vries, Sette Camara and countryman di Grassi heated up on lap six, with the Dutchman leapfrogging both Brazilians into fifth while they fought among themselves. Di Grassi didn’t take kindly to Sette Camara’s elbows out move and repaid the favor, slicing up the inside of the Dragon machine into Turn 1 on lap seven for sixth spot. From there on in, Sette Camara slipped back down the pack — 12th just two laps later.

Come the second dose of Attack Mode for the leaders, Lynn jumped first, while Dennis held fire to take first on track. De Vries, meanwhile, looked to have pinched third from Buemi and Lotterer having leapt for Attack Mode a lap prior — they emerged ahead, though, despite the Dutchman’s engineer giving de Vries the hurry-up. A reprieve for the Mercedes man came with Lotterer missing the activation loop, meaning he’d take a net fourth.

The cat-and-mouse battle up front continued into the final 20 minutes, with Dennis still to take his second Attack Mode boost. Crucially, Lynn locked up into Turn 10 on lap 18, costing the Mahindra driver time and allowing his countryman to extend his lead to the tune of some two seconds. He retained the lead after diving through the Attack Mode loop a lap later. From there, Dennis was in a race of his own, the most effective driver on regen and looking after his Michelin Pilot Sport EV tires well.

“After such a strong qualifying, to now get the win is just sensational. I made a special helmet for this weekend — a British helmet — and I’m just over the moon,” said Dennis. “It was a brilliant job by the whole team.

“We took a risk with the strategy — we could have played it safe but we felt like we had better pace than Mahindra and it paid off. Because it wasn’t such an energy-limited race, I could do five laps fully pushing and this allowed me to create the gap to Lynn. After I saw him make a mistake at Turn 10, I thought, ‘Here we go for the win.’ I just needed three qualifying-type laps and managed to do it.”

De Vries made a late move down at the first hairpin for third, passing Buemi on lap 26, and was with Lynn’s Mahindra by lap 29; making a move stick for second down at Turn 11 by utilizing the 20% power jolt offered up by Fanboost.

“I made use of Fanboost very well today to secure second place and Alex was very kind in that overtake moment, as I think he thought we were a bit stronger at that point in the race. It’s really nice to come back here and score a podium, particularly in the way we did it. We felt strong and competitive yesterday and also from qualifying and the wet running today, so very pleased to give this back to the team.”

Lynn would have to settle for third, with Buemi following close behind. Lotterer held off the Audi duo of Rast and di Grassi, while Vandoorne sliced through the pack from 14th to eighth.

Meanwhile, da Costa also made Fanboost count late on to take ninth from Nato that same tour, nibbling more valuable points out of championship leader Bird who retired on Lap 1. Nissan e.dams’ Rowland rounded out the top 10.

However, after the race, both Nissan e.dams drivers were found to have exceeded the regulated 47kWh of energy, and were disqualified as a result.

UP NEXT: The second Heineken London E-Prix, Round 13 of the 2020/21 season, follows tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. local time, and airs on CBS at 1:00 p.m. ET.

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