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Vandoorne close to Formula E title but de Vries snubs team order

Stoffel Vandoorne is on the brink of the 2022 Formula E world title after a last-gasp problem for main championship rival Mitch Evans in a London E-Prix won by Lucas di Grassi.

But Vandoorne’s lead could be even larger had his Mercedes team-mate Nyck de Vries heeded a team orders call.

While di Grassi overcame poleman and Saturday winner Jake Dennis to take his first win with Venturi, title combatants Evans and Vandoorne made assertive progress from their midfield grid slots of 14th and 13th respectively.

Evans was established in fourth, one place ahead of Vandoorne, as the race went into the extra time period prompted by an early safety car, meaning the championship gap between them was set to come down slightly to 22 points.

But Evans’ Jaguar then abruptly appeared to lose power and coast down an escape road, handing Vandoorne’s Mercedes fourth place and a 36-point cushion with 58 available in the deciding Seoul double-header in a fortnight.

As Vandoorne moved into fourth, team-mate de Vries was 6s up the road chasing Dennis for second. Team radio heard by The Race suggested Mercedes de Vries to slow and give Vandoorne the place so he could gain an additional three points, but the order was not heeded.

“Why? Give me one reason. He’s got the points,” said de Vries on the radio on the last lap. “I’m prepared to drive for Stoffel but with three rounds to go and 25 points lead I see no reason to give up a podium.”

Up ahead of the championship drama, di Grassi shadowed Avalanche Andretti driver Dennis all race and used his attack modes sooner – effectively undercutting his rival.

Andretti’s last hope was allowing Dennis to use more energy ahead of his final attack mode in the hope of getting enough of a gap to take it and stay ahead, but Dennis couldn’t get away from di Grassi so duly lost the lead when he dived off-line and was unable to retake the place with the extra power.

Di Grassi, who won by 3.2s, joined the Venturi Mercedes team this year after long-time employer Audi’s FE exit but is expected to leave for Mahindra for 2023.

Edoardo Mortara and Jean-Eric Vergne remain in mathematical title contention but only as very long shots. Di Grassi’s team-mate Mortara had a wild run to 13th that included a penalty for contact with Maximilian Guenther and a spin while battling with Sam Bird for minor points.

Vergne parked early with sustained damage when Oliver Rowland was launched off Oliver Askew and into the DS Techeetah.

Antonio Felix da Costa completed the top five behind the Mercedes, with Sebastien Buemi taking an encouraging sixth for Nissan by fending off Robin Frijns and Sam Bird.

After his Saturday heartbreak, Sergio Sette Camara finally gave Dragon Penske its first 2022 points by beating Pascal Wehrlein to ninth.

But Sette Camara’s team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi suffered more disappointment after his shock third on the grid.

He raced hard to hang on to his podium at first but then incurred a drivethrough penalty for exceeding the series’ power-use limit and later retired.

Race Results

pos Yam Team car laps Led Laps Total Time Fastest Lap pitstops pts
1 Lucas Di Grassi ROKiT Venturi Racing Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 38 0 49m28.805s 1m14.438s 0 26
two Jake Dennis Avalanche Andretti BMW i FE.21 38 0 +3,191s 1m14.446s 0 twenty-one
3 Nyck de Vries Mercedes Benz EQ Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 38 0 +4,508s 1m14.525s 0 fifteen
4 Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes Benz EQ Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 38 0 +10,358s 1m14.579s 0 12
5 Antonio Felix da Costa D.S. Techeetah DS E-Tense FE21 38 0 +13,946s 1m14.774s 0 10
6 Sebastien Buemi Nissan e.Dams Nissan IM03 38 0 +20,399s 1m15.218s 0 8
7 Robin Frijns Envision Racing Audi etron FE07 38 0 +20.85s 1m14.894s 0 6
8 Sam Bird Jaguar TCS Racing Jaguar I-Type 5 38 0 +21,748s 1m15.012s 0 4
9 Sergio Sette Camara Dragon / Penske Autosport Penske EV-5 38 0 +28,913s 1m15.069s 0 two
10 Pascal Wehrlein Tag Heuer Porsche Porsche 99X Electric 38 0 +29,685s 1m14.84s 0 1
eleven alexander sims Mahindra Racing Mahindra M8 Electro 38 0 +30,611s 1m15.261s 0 0
12 Andre Lotterer Tag Heuer Porsche Porsche 99X Electric 38 0 +31,644s 1m15.234s 0 0
13 Edward Mortara ROKiT Venturi Racing Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 38 0 +35,147s 1m14.603s 0 0
14 Oliver Turney NIO 333 Racing NIO 333 001 38 0 +37,285s 1m15.365s 0 0
fifteen Maximilian Gunther Nissan e.Dams Nissan IM03 38 0 +1m19.833s 1m15.024s 0 0
Mitch Evans Jaguar TCS Racing Jaguar I-Type 5 35 0 DNF 1m14.577s 0 0
Nick Cassidy Envision Racing Audi etron FE07 30 0 DNF 1m14.349s 0 0
Oliver Askew Avalanche Andretti BMW i FE.21 twenty-one 0 DNF 1m14.958s 0 0
Antonio Giovinazzi Dragon / Penske Autosport Penske EV-5 19 0 DNF 1m15.618s 0 0
Jean-Eric Vergne D.S. Techeetah DS E-Tense FE21 3 0 DNF 1m15.944s 0 0
Daniel Ticktum NIO 333 Racing NIO 333 001 1 0 DNF 0s 0 0
Oliver Rowland Mahindra Racing Mahindra M8 Electro 1 0 DNF 0s 0 0

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