Mercedes-EQ's Nyck de Vries scored a double podium at the Heineken® London E-Prix to fire himself right into Drivers' World Championship contention ahead of the final two rounds to come in Berlin.
Nyck de Vries jumped to the top of the Drivers' World Championship with a double podium at the ExCeL Circuit in London, following up a second-placed finish on Saturday with a repeat on Sunday.
Were it not for an unfortunately-timed appearance for the MINI Electric Pacesetter - at least from the Dutchman's perspective with it wiping out his second 35kW dose of ATTACK MODE boost - de Vries may have gone one better. As it was, everything shook out nicely for Alex Lynn (Mahindra Racing), and de Vries though disappointed, is pleased to be back in the hunt.
"I’m not sure if it's the right moment to be leading, but we'll find out at the end of the year," said the 26-year-old. "I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with second but I have to be happy with the result in the end.
"First of all, I feel sorry for my teammate Stoffel because my opinion is that he deserved the win if it was not for Oliver (Rowland) taking him out, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I think we were a bit unlucky with the Safety Car when we just activated the ATTACK MODE. That made me a little bit vulnerable after the Safety Car restart.
"Then Lucas (di Grassi) was there in the mix, which I was very surprised by as he should not have been there. Alex and Mahindra deserved the win. At the end, the energy targets were so high that I could never come alongside him with it almost becoming a flat-out race. So, I made quite a lot of mistakes, trying to push really hard but it was just the targets were too high to ever do ever be in a position to make a move. At the same time, I felt like we left something on the table and it didn’t really work."
Mercedes had the pace to challenge at the front all weekend, and Vandoorne being in the right place at the wrong time meant the German outfit was left deconstructing two rounds that left Team Principal Ian James conflicted, and Vandoorne sitting 13th in the running having had the top of the table in his grasp.
"London was a whirlwind. A whirlwind in terms of action on the track, and a whirlwind in terms of the feelings we experienced at the end," said James. "Let's start off by saying we've seen some absolute highlights.
"We knew we were in a chance for the very best results today. We've had a great car all weekend, and both drivers have been on it - fuelled by the hard work of the rest of the team behind the scenes.
"We are used to action-packed races in Formula E but this race exceeded those expectations. Both drivers executed the start very well - Stoffel managed to keep the lead and pulled the gaps he needed to for most of the race - both under normal circumstances, and a safety car period. Nyck played his part and kept up the strong pace he's been showing all weekend.
"As soon as the Safety Car came in, Stoffel got taken out of his position by an overly optimistic attack from Rowland who was driving behind him, causing damage to Stoffel's car, and making him fall back to 15th. An unbelievably frustrating incident, and extremely costly - having Stoffel miss out on a potential win. Luckily Nyck managed to keep out of the madness around him and bring home the car in a well-deserved.
"It feels very conflicting. There is this 'what could have been'-feeling across the garage. We've somehow made another step in the championship standings, which is something to take away from this weekend. The most important thing is that we keep realising the pace we have been showing this weekend."
Published on 29th July 2021