• 2021 London E-Prix: Back on the podium

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is good at producing a constant stream of fresh challenges for drivers and teams. That proved to be the case again this season for both Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries, who experienced a tough run of three races out of the points before the London race weekend.

But the team have not become disheartened by that and have worked flat out over these past few weeks in order to be on top form in London for one of their home races - and they did superbly well. Mercedes-EQ were back on the podium in both races at the London E-Prix and almost managed to achieve even more.

Two podiums for Nyck de Vries

Mercedes-EQ went through the full range of emotions during this London race weekend. After making a decent start on Friday, Nyck had to go out on track in the first qualifying group when track conditions were not at their best. He qualified ninth on the grid for Saturday's first round.

In the race, however, Nyck showed the strong pace that he and his car were able to maintain over the whole weekend. Over the 33 laps, he improved to take second place and secured his fourth Formula E podium up to this point.

nyck de vries hugging cara delevingne

"It's great that we were able to hit back today with this second place on the podium," he said afterwards. "We've had a tough time this season up until now, for which we were partly to blame but there have also been factors outside of our control. It's really nice to have made it onto the podium here in London, especially when you think that we managed to move up the field from ninth on the grid."

Nyck was thus able to reward the team for all their hard work over the past weeks and months - and he did the same again on Sunday when he set the fastest time in the first qualifying group, which enabled him to go through into the Super Pole session and qualify fourth on the grid.

nyck de vries on the track in his mercedes-eq silver arrow 02

Team Principal Ian James described the race that followed as a 'whirlwind' both in terms of the on-track action and the roller-coaster ride of emotions that the team experienced. While Stoffel became a tragic hero, Nyck seized his chance and finished runner-up for the second time this weekend.

"This is my second podium of the weekend, but ultimately, I'm a little disappointed to have only finished runner-up today," he said after the race. "All in all, we were a bit unlucky with the safety car, as we had just activated Attack Mode when it came out on track. That made me vulnerable following the restart and then Lucas di Grassi was suddenly up front, fighting for the lead, which really surprised me, because he shouldn't have been there. In the end, Alex Lynn and Mahindra were deserving winners. I gave it my all, but unfortunately, it was impossible to get alongside him and launch another attack."

nyck de vries looking at his trophy from london

Missed opportunity for unlucky Stoffel Vandoorne

Stoffel's Saturday didn't get off to a good start. He experienced aquaplaning in wet track conditions and spun off track just as FP2 was getting under way.

"It made life difficult for me, as I went into qualifying a bit blind," said Stoffel. "In the race, I was able to fight my way up from 14th on the grid and into the points. That's a decent result in view of my starting position." He booked P7 in the end.

Sunday started out much better. Stoffel set the fastest time in the second qualifying group and then posted the fastest time in the Super Pole session, enabling him to secure his fourth Formula E pole position, from where he led an action-packed E-Prix until about the mid-point of the race when Oliver Rowland made contact with his car, bumping him back down to 15th place.

Stoffel vandoorne speaking to toto wolff

Stoffel's Saturday didn't get off to a good start. He experienced aquaplaning in wet track conditions and spun off track just as FP2 was getting under way.

"It made life difficult for me, as I went into qualifying a bit blind," said Stoffel. "In the race, I was able to fight my way up from 14th on the grid and into the points. That's a decent result in view of my starting position." He booked P7 in the end.

Sunday started out much better. Stoffel set the fastest time in the second qualifying group and then posted the fastest time in the Super Pole session, enabling him to secure his fourth Formula E pole position, from where he led an action-packed E-Prix until about the mid-point of the race when Oliver Rowland made contact with his car, bumping him back down to 15th place.

Ian james speaking with stoffel vandoorne after his second race in london

Nyck also shared his team-mate's disappointment: "Most of all, I feel sorry for my team‑mate Stoffel, who would have won in my opinion had he not been taken out by Oliver Rowland."

Stoffel could at least see the positive side of things despite the day's events: "My car was fantastic today. I controlled the gaps and was able to pull out a lead when I needed to for the Attack Modes. To then lose so many points and miss out on another potential win just really hurts. These points are immensely important in this championship, especially in a season as tightly contested as this one."

stickers on the ground in front of the mercedes-eq silver arrow 02

Ready for grand season finale in Berlin

Ian James had hoped ahead of the race weekend that London could become something of a turning point for his team this season and his wishes were granted. Having taken two second places and one P7, Mercedes-EQ improved to second place in the team championship in London. Nevertheless, the feeling still remains that even more might have been possible on Sunday.

"It feels very conflicting, as we are happy with a pole position today and another podium finish this weekend. But at the same time, there is this 'what could have been?' feeling across the garage," said Ian James after Race 2.

"Still, we've somehow managed to make progress in the championship standings, which is something positive to take away from this weekend that we can be really pleased about. What's most important, though, is that we keep realising the pace that we've shown this weekend. It's been a fantastic team effort."

From one home race in London to another in Germany. Virgin Racing lead the team standings from Mercedes-EQ by just seven points ahead of the final double-header in Berlin, August 14 and 15. In the drivers' competition, Nyck is six points up on Robin Frijns in second place, so everything is riding on the season finale.

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