Formula E: Wehrlein wins Saturday race in Jakarta ahead of Dennis, Günther finishes third
Pascal Wehrlein took his third win of the season in Saturday's Formula E race in Jakarta. The German Porsche driver prevailed over marque colleague Jake Dennis in the Andretti. Third place went to Max Günther (Maserati MSG). Jaguar will again be grabbing some of the headlines, though, as the two teammates had another momentous collision shortly before the end of the race.
Max Günther got off the line well and was able to maintain his lead into turn 1. However, Pascal Wehrlein got off to a rocket start - like almost all drivers on the left side of the grid - and shot past Jake Dennis before the first apex. The Briton lost another place a little later to Stoffel Vandoorne, who was already up to third as a result. Further back in the field on lap 2 there was contact between David Beckmann and the attacking Sebastien Buemi. The Swiss damaged his tire in the process and had to come into the pits for repairs.
On lap 4, Wehrlein mounted an attack against Günther at the end of the start/finish straight and took the lead. Vandoorne was the first driver in the leading group to drive through the attack zone and activate his 350 kW power mode. For the first time this season, the drivers had to complete a total of eight minutes with the full power, spread over two activations. As a result, the Belgian fell behind his DS teammate Jean-Eric Vergne.
A little later, more drivers responded and got their first attack mode, including Wehrlein and Vergne. Günther took the lead again in the meantime until he drove over the activation loops himself one lap later. Wehrlein armed himself with his second attack mode as early as lap 8, this time for six minutes. Consequently, he dropped back. The top 10 ranking after the first ten of 36 race laps: Günther ahead of Vandoorne, Wehrlein, Dennis, Edo Mortara, Nick Cassidy, Robins Frijns, Mitch Evans and Nico Müller.
Dennis catches up, Cassidy & Vergne collide
In terms of energy, there were still no major outliers up or down in the first third of the race. Wehrlein had used slightly more energy than his immediate rivals, but he had also already fulfilled his attack mode obligations. Dennis was best in the lead group, but had only been running at full power for two minutes. After Vandoorne and Günther activated their second attack modes, Wehrlein was back in the lead.
On lap 16, Dennis went through the attack zone for the second time and dropped back to fourth place behind Wehrlein, Günther and Vandoorne - but now had six minutes of the 350 kW mode to use. A short time later he attacked Vandoorne in turn 1 and grabbed third place, although the Formula E champion defended vehemently in the DS. Dennis closed the gap to Günther over the next few minutes. On lap 20, he finally cashed in on the German at the end of the long main straight.
On the same lap, there was contact between Vergne and Cassidy: The Envision driver attempted a late lunge to get alongside the Frenchman in turn 1 and held off on the inside lane. Cassidy slid across the track and lost a lot of time. However, neither car suffered any major damage. After Dennis' attack modes expired, there was now a "cleared" tableau of the leading group: Wehrlein led ahead of Dennis, Günther, Vandoorne and Vergne.
Bird again clashes with teammate Evans
On lap 24, Dennis ventured a first attack on Wehrlein. However, the Porsche driver defended his lead and Dennis had to wait for another opportunity. As a result, Günther sensed his chance and got alongside Dennis, but ultimately pulled back cleverly to avoid a collision. The trio behind was able to catch up due to the three-way battle for the lead. Looking at the battery levels, Dennis and Günther had a slight advantage over Wehrlein and the DS drivers.
Cassidy had gone for his second attack mode late on and was now gritting his teeth on Mortara in seventh as his seconds ticked away with increased power. For the world championship leader, the Jakarta E-Prix has not been ideal so far. Meanwhile, the two Jaguar cars of Mitch Evans and Sam Bird, as well as the Porsche of Antonio Felix da Costa, were lined up at the end of the top 10. The McLaren and ABT Cupra drivers followed just behind in the points-paying positions. Even a breif spin by Rene Rast did not change that.
With a few minutes to go - there were to be no additional laps - the leading trio gradually pulled away. Wehrlein, Dennis and Günther were still very close together. Then the shock for Jaguar came: As in Hyderabad, Bird drove into the rear of his teammate Evans and spun him in turn 1! Evans stopped in the run-off zone and had to end his race. Yellow flags were briefly shown in turn 1 before the race continued once again with full power.
Wehrlein leaves no stone unturned
On the final lap, Dennis once again tried everything to get past Wehrlein. However, the Porsche driver defended himself with full commitment. Wehrlein brought his lead to the finish and secured his third win of the season! Dennis finished second, while Max Günther also made the podium in third.
The drama for Jaguar, on the other hand, continued: Bird also dropped to the back of the field after being spun by Rene Rast. David Beckmann finished his Formula E debut in 16th place. The second rookie, Roberto Merhi in the Mahindra, finished 18th.
In the drivers' championship, Pascal Wehrlein was able to make up ground again, but is still two points behind overall leader Nick Cassidy. Jake Dennis is third ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne and Mitch Evans. Among the teams, however, Porsche has regained the championship lead. Envision follows just nine points behind and remains ahead of its factory team Jaguar. Maserati made another big leap, and ABT Cupra also took home points again, but remains last.
The next Formula E race is already on Sunday and is set to also start at 10 a.m. (CEST).