After Rounds 12 and 13 of the season in London, Mercedes-EQ driver Nyck de Vries has taken the lead in the Formula E World Championship, with two second places enough for the Dutchman, with Jake Dennis in the BMW and Alex Lynn in the Mahindra winning the races.
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 over the championship lead after his victory in New York, but dropped out in both races at his home race.
The special feature of the new track in London: The start-finish straight and some corners were indoors in a hall, as was the pit lane, which 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 corners, hairpins and fast turns.
Saturday's race win went to BMW driver Jake Dennis, who has now 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 went to 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 Attack Mode. Lotterer also made a mistake here, which cost the Porsche driver the chance of a podium.
On Sunday, Briton Lynn did better in his Indian electric race car to win the race ahead of de Vries, whose teammate 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 running in sixth place up to that point, into the pits. The trick was that the pit lane with its special track layout through the hall was shorter than the track itself, allowing the Brazilian di Grassi to pass the field and take the lead despite the 50-kph speed limit in the pit lane.
The catch: according to the rules, a driver has to stop short of his pit lane when driving through it during a safety car period. 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 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 with 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 a chance to call themselves Formula E world champions.