London E-Prix: Lynn wins wild race after di Grassi penalty

Mahindra’s Alex Lynn scored his maiden Formula E victory in a bizarre Race 2 at the London E-Prix at the indoor/outdoor ExCeL Centre on Sunday, after on-the-road winner Lucas di Grassi was penalised for pitting under the safety car and not stopping for long enough.

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Lynn, who is fighting again to remain in Formula E next season, ran in second position on to the final of 30 laps when the Audi of di Grassi was penalised. 

Di Grassi had been in eighth when a second safety car was called after reigning champion Antonio Felix was eliminated at Turn 1 after being squeezed into the pitwall by Andre Lotterer.  The Brazilian then broke from the slow-moving train on the exit of Turn 22 and hit the 50km/h-limited pitlane.

It seems he effectively complied with the wording of the regulations by momentarily stopping in the Audi pit box before resuming in first place. With the stewards arguing that he had not been stationary for long enough, di Grassi was hit with a drive-through penalty for the safety car procedure infringement.

However, the team opted not to inform the 2016-17 champion and he carried on first-on-the-road to the flag.  This came as his Audi team, with its protest led by team principal Allan McNish, lobbied the FIA race stewards to overturn the penalty prior to the chequered flag. 

But the disciplinary action was upheld, meaning di Grassi had his drive-through penalty converted into a time penalty, dropping him to eighth in the classified results.

That ensured Lynn snared his maiden championship victory and a fifth for the Mahindra Racing squad. The Essex-born racer, who has been dropped by Mahindra for 2022, backed up his weekend’s pole and podium on Saturday with a triumph by six tenths over Nyck de Vries.

The Mercedes driver now takes the lead of the drivers’ championship ahead of the final double-header round in Berlin. 

Mitch Evans claimed an unlikely podium after having initially missed his second attack mode activation. But he then took the 35kW power hike the following lap and used the boost to pass Maximilian Guenther for fourth prior to di Grassi’s dropping down the order. 

Polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne had been in early control of the race, leading through a first safety car – issued when Rene Rast was eliminated after a prolonged collision with Sebastien Buemi – before he was demoted by di Grassi’s and Audi’s opportunism. 

But when Vandoorne complained that di Grassi was defending from the Mercedes through the Turn 10 hairpin, second-placed Oliver Rowland locked up on the approach to the corner. At the apex, the Nissan e.dams racer then hit a bump which interrupted his steering input and he tagged Vandoorne out of second place and down to an eventual 12th

Rowland was worse off still, eventually classifying down in 19th, with de Vries nipping through on the inside into second place behind di Grassi as Lynn sat in third. 

But the Brit had the final of his eight-minute attack mode activations remaining and used the boost to close and then teamed it with fanboost through Turn to pass de Vries. The FIA Formula 2 champion had been battling with damaged steering sustained early on when he passed Rowland for what could become the eventual victory. 

Robin Frijns ran to fourth for Envision Virgin Racing, while Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche) profited from scrappy racing throughout the grid to take a subdued but no less solid sixth place ahead of Nick Cassidy, who finished without much of his front bodywork after a Turn 10 crunch.  

Behind di Grassi’s adjusted eighth place, Dragon Penske Autosport driver Sergio Sette Camara beat Jake Dennis – the Saturday victor handed a late drive-through penalty – to complete the top 10. 

Pre-race points leader Sam Bird retired after his penultimate lap shunt with Norman Nato at Turn 10 when he moved to pass on the inside. The two cars became tangled and Bird was adjudged to have caused the collision and will carry a three-place grid drop into the Berlin opening race. 

Pos Driver  Car   Laps   Time   Gap 
94 Alex Lynn Mahindra 30 46'29.532  
17 Nyck de Vries Mercedes 30 46'30.131 0.599
20 Mitch Evans Jaguar 30 46'35.789 6.257
4 Robin Frijns Audi 30 46'36.214 6.682
99 Pascal Wehrlein Porsche 30 46'38.744 9.212
28 Max Guenther BMW 30 46'40.169 10.637
37 Nick Cassidy Audi 30 46'42.217 12.685
7 S.Sette Câmara Penske 30 46'48.769 19.237
27 Jake Dennis BMW 30 46'54.446 24.914
10  6 Joel Eriksson Penske 30 46'57.452 27.920
11  5 S.Vandoorne Mercedes 30 46'58.155 28.623
12  48 Edoardo Mortara Mercedes 30 46'58.615 29.083
13  25 Jean-Éric Vergne DS 30 46'59.447 29.915
14  23 Sébastien Buemi Nissan 30 46'59.823 30.291
15  8 Oliver Turvey NIO 30 47'00.896 31.364
16  29 Alexander Sims Mahindra 30 47'03.868 34.336
17  36 André Lotterer Porsche 30 47'04.736 35.204
18  22 Oliver Rowland Nissan 30 47'11.801 42.269
19  88 Tom Blomqvist NIO 29 47'14.484  
11 Lucas di Grassi Audi 30 46'47.066 17.534
71 Norman Nato Mercedes 27 42'33.891  
10 Sam Bird Jaguar 27 42'34.316  
13 A.F.da Costa DS 10 16'05.204  
33 René Rast Audi 5 7'09.538
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