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Formula E: Season-ending London E-Prix race results

The second London E-Prix brought the curtain down on Formula E season nine, the first of the Gen3 era and the first with a British champion

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Jake Dennis clinched the Formula E Drivers’ Championship in the penultimate round, but the teams’ battle was still very much to play for in London.

Formula E London E-Prix Envision Jaguar Cassidy Evans Buemi Bird
Jaguar took victory and P4 in the first London E-Prix and go into the season finale just three points behind Envision. (Image Credit: @TCS_UKI on Twitter)

Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy and Jaguar’s Mitch Evans may have both lost out on a maiden Formula E title themselves, but the duo would likely go a long way to decide the outcome of the teams’ contest, which all eyes would be on for the race.

After going head-to-head in the first London E-Prix qualifying final on Saturday, Sunday provided a rematch for the pair of New Zealanders. It’s increasingly likely that the two will be teammates at Jaguar for season 10 but until then, it was a case of settling the Teams’ Championship, the main focus of the final round of the year.

An all-Jaguar affair?

Cassidy, who lost out at the first time of asking, clinched pole, claiming three points and the advantage for his team going into the race. They’d line up with Envision on 271 points and Jaguar just behind on 268.

Jaguar supplies powertrains to Envision, so there’s added tension and rivalry there, on top of the rumour that Cassidy is replacing Sam Bird at Jaguar for next season.

Porsche and Andretti began the race still in mathematical contention, on 241 and 236 points respectively. But, it was always going to be a long shot.

Potentially out-going Bird and Envision’s Sebastien Buemi went out of qualifying at the quarter-final stage. The former would line up P6, with the latter right on his tail in P7.

Evans, who started P6 on Saturday after a penalty for taking Cassidy out of the previous race – in Rome – managed to work his way back through the chaos to take the victory. Would he be able to go back-to-back and thrust Jaguar towards the teams’ crown, or would Envision prevail?

Saturday’s race was 36 laps, but Sunday’s would be just 34 tours, something that Buemi felt would be “boring” after his podium the day prior.

However, substantial rainfall prior to the start of the race would prove to be another consideration for the teams, and potentially a boredom-mitigating factor.

Behind the safety car

Due to the adverse weather conditions on the outside sections of the circuit, the race would begin behind the safety car, even if the grid is situated inside the London ExCeL Centre.

With the laps behind the safety car counting towards the 34-lap count, three reconnaissance laps would bring the number down to 31 for the full, standing grid start.

However, at the last minute race control reserved the decision and sent the pace car back out again with the conditions looking increasingly extreme.

Sam Bird came on the radio to tell Jaguar that the conditions were worsening, commenting that Stoffel Vandoorne ahead looked like he was “practising rally driving.”

Jake Dennis was also on the radio expressing that he felt it was too wet to race. Indeed, on lap five, the red flag was out. All drivers were instructed to observe usual procedures with the sweepers sent out to clear the track. Race director Scot Elkins would reassess in a few minutes time.

After a break of over 30 minutes for the track to be cleared up and improved, the field ventured out onto the circuit behind the safety car for another couple of reconnaissance laps.

Two more laps in the books and the weather appeared to be worsening. The red flag was out again for another delay.

Another stop of 40 minutes meant racing could yet again resume at 18:30 local time, almost an hour and a half after the race’s original start time.

With seven laps on the board, racing would finally resume with a rolling start.

Opening salvo

At the start of lap eight, Nick Cassidy led the field away for green flag racing. Cassidy and Dennis slide all over the place as they encounter the outside, searching for the grip.

Even on the dry inside, Cassidy found himself twitching into braking zones, but all runners managed to keep it facing the right direction.

Over half the pack opted for early attack modes over the first two racing laps. In the fight for P3, Dennis managed to find a way past Norman Nato of Nissan.

In the fight for the Teams’ Championship, Cassidy and Evans scampered away at the front, in a class of two. Teammates Bird and Buemi still running line astern in P6 and P7. As things stood, Envision would take the title by seven points, 301 to 294.

It was nothing to report for much of the opening few laps, as the drivers acclimatised to the now-improving conditions. On lap 14, Dan Ticktum would provide some entertainment, capitalising on a mistake by Edoardo Mortara to take P10. Pascal Wehrlein would subsequently use attack mode, elevating Ticktum further, to P9.

Down in P18, Wehrlein’s teammate, Antonio Felix da Costa circulated with front wing damage but remained able to hold his own.

Up top, Cassidy and Evans in first and second stamped their authority on proceedings, moving 9 seconds clear of new champion Jake Dennis.

Mid-way point

The points-paying positions held firm as the race passed the halfway mark. Behind Dennis lay Nato, Vandoorne, Bird, Buemi, Muller, Ticktum and Wehrlein.

For a race that promised so much, with a teams’ title at stake, it was developing into somewhat of a tepid affair. Pathetic fallacy, perhaps?

With 21 laps on the board, DS Penske’s Jean-Eric Vergne pulled into the pits with an issue. He wouldn’t be there for long – after a quick tyre change he was back out in plum last.

With Cassidy becoming increasingly unchallenged by Evans at the front, and Dennis detached in P3, it was increasingly unfolding into a race of what might have been had he and Envision not thrown away big points on Saturday. In a different life, it could have been a coronation drive.

In the other Jaguar vs. Envision battle, after falling behind, Sam Bird hassled and harried Sebastien Buemi, trying to force an opening and a way back into P6. Nothing giving.

Closing stages

With only a handful of laps left to run, it was announced that four additional laps would be added, to account for the earlier safety car delays, bringing the distance up to 38 laps.

Envision still held the impetus, but would Jaguar be able to fight back in the final laps?

Due to the shortened original distance and the multitude of safety car laps, energy proved to be not much consideration for the field. Into the additional laps and Cassidy’s lead was up to three seconds. Further down, Bird had also started to fall back from Buemi, Jaguar seemingly out of answers at this late stage of the season.

Onto the final lap and the Teams’ Championship was all but sewn up. Jaguar Team Principal James Barclay conceded that his squad were relying on a Nick Cassidy error.

That mistake never came, and Evans and Dennis filled out the top three in fitting fashion. The three strongest drivers over the season and worthy podium finishers in London.

It won’t go down as a Formula E classic, but Envision won’t mind. A commanding performance and a first Formula E Teams’ Championship.

With Dennis’s P3, Andretti bested Porsche to P3, too. So an even more fitting podium in the end.

Classified results

Featured Image Credit: @ABBgroupnews on Twitter

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