Jake Dennis became the new Formula E world champion after Mitch Evans won a thrilling penultimate round of the season at the London E-Prix on Saturday.
Dennis finished second which was enough to win the title after his closest championship challenger Nick Cassidy retired due to damage sustained from a collision with Sebastien Buemi.
The Andretti driver is the first British Formula E champion and the eighth driver to win the title from the series’ nine seasons.
“I am lost for words, honestly,” said Dennis. “It means so much to me, the boys standing out there, we have had everything thrown at us, honestly it felt like everyone was racing against us – but Jesus Christ we have just become world champion! I am so happy for myself, the team, everyone – we deserve this so much.
“I only joined this championship three years ago, we almost won in our rookie year but now to come back and have the year that we have had, breaking all the podium records.
“To become world champion is mind blowing, I really didn’t think it could happen coming into this year, but full credit to my boys. I love them so much, they have given me an absolute rocket ship all year, this is the least I could do for them.
“I could hear the fans as well, it is absolutely incredible to share this moment with them. My mum is out there somewhere, it is incredible for her. World champion – I am just amazed.”
Cassidy’s title hopes end after inter-team collision
It was initially the perfect start for the Envisions as Cassidy led away from pole position and Buemi slotted into second. Buemi smartly backed up the field which meant Dennis was under pressure from cars all around him, until it all went wrong.
Cassidy, who came into the race 24 points behind Dennis, led the early stages of the race but dropped back to third, which was unseen by the cameras, presumably to save energy by slipstreaming other cars.
Immediately, it looked like Cassidy had more pace than Buemi, who was stuck behind leader Evans. It was thought Buemi would let his teammate by, but the pair raced each other hard.
On Lap 15, the Envision drivers went side by side through the opening sector but Buemi cut across Cassidy at Turn 3 and broke the front wing of the latter. Cassidy got back to the pit lane but his car was too damaged and he was forced to retire, ending his championship challenge.
The New Zealander was understandably furious and didn’t want to be filmed when getting out of the car during the race, telling the cameraman multiple times to go somewhere else.
Two red flags and a pile-up
The final six laps featured two red flags and a pile-up as Sascha Fenestraz went over the top of Dan Ticktum at the Turn 16 hairpin and hit the barriers hard. Due to the impact, the barriers were damaged so a red flag was called.
At this point, the order was Evans, Buemi, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Dennis, Norman Nato and Sam Bird. Dennis knew he needed to finish in third if Evans won, but the Jaguar driver and Buemi still had to take their second attack modes.
On the restart, Evans and Buemi went into the attack mode zone but the latter came out behind Dennis, which promoted the British driver into third.
Then, Buemi collided with Nato at the penultimate corner which blocked the track as everyone else piled in, forcing another red flag with three laps to go.
Dennis held his nerve on the restart again and crossed the line in third, which become second as Da Costa was given a three-minute time penalty for a technical infringement.
Dennis’ rollercoaster race
Dennis missed his first attack mode twice and had no help from teammate Andre Lotterer as the drivers raced aggressively throughout the E-Prix.
The Andretti driver just about kept out of trouble but was clearly agitated on the radio. He wanted help from the Porsche pair of Da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein, but they didn’t elect to assist him as they wanted points for the teams’ championship.
Through all the drama, Dennis came away unscathed and deservedly secured the title with his 10th podium of the season.