Dennis and Daruvala secure ABB Driver of Progress honours in Misano

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Dennis and Daruvala secure ABB Driver of Progress honours in Misano

Reigning Champion Jake Dennis getting to the podium from 17th on the grid, and rookie Jehan Daruvala scoring his first ever points, were results more than deserving of the ABB Driver of Progress awards in the Misano E-Prix double-header.

dennis celebrates misano podium

The inaugural Misano E-Prix saw the return of the tight peloton pack as drivers looked every which way to conserve on energy for the vital dash to the flag in the closing stages.

Saturday saw reigning Champion Jake Dennis put down an assertive drive to the lead back after starting in the lower portion of the grid. It was a key driver for the Andretti driver as he left Italy tried at the top of the standings as his title defence enters its most convincing phase yet, and it was the opener in Misano that ignited this.

The following day saw the first points on the board for rookie Jehan Daruvala. The new recruit in Maserati MSG Racing stable for Season 10 became the first Indian driver to score points in Formula E since Karun Chandhok in 2014.

Here's how they both did it...

A Champion's drive

A tyre pressure rule breach in group qualifying consigned Dennis to his lowly grid slot but with expectations of intense peloton-style racing at a new venue for the championship, there was always likely to be opportunity to progress.

Dennis making 31 overtakes on the way to gaining 13 positions on-track, plus one more through a time penalty and then finally another due to Antonio Felix da Costa’s disqualification, is a great indicator of how dynamic this race was. 

He, essentially, had to overtake two cars for every one place he would gain in the final classification! Because there is an awful lot of rising and falling in the order, so some passes are about regaining ground rather than moving forward.

dennis dop 1

With a bit more work to do from the back of the grid, Dennis spent his energy wisely. He kept his nose clean on the opening lap and more or less held station, then used more energy to pick off a few cars and get into the top 10 in the first phase of the race.  

Arming himself with four minutes of ATTACK MODE was the first instance of losing some ground, and then the attention inevitably shifted to being more efficient with energy and wanting to know how the leaders were looking, as Dennis moved back into the top 10. 

Losing about 1% to Da Costa and Rowland, who were clearly the benchmarks in this regard, was acceptable given Dennis’s state of charge was in line with others – and he was still picking his way up the order.

dennis dop 2

This emphasis on efficiency set Dennis up well for the closing stages. Some wheel-to-wheel action disrupted his rise into the top five, and having less energy than the two leaders was evident in how much more aggressive they were – Dennis used significantly less throttle than Da Costa and Rowland over the final four laps – but really Dennis’s race was with the pack behind.

But when he armed himself with ATTACK MODE for the second and last time, Dennis had enough battery for a final flourish. He moved back past Dan Ticktum and pulled nice moves on Mitch Evans and Maximilian Guenther to run fourth.

A robust defence from Jean-Eric Vergne denied further progress – but Vergne had a five-second penalty, so all Dennis needed to do was sit under his rear light and his podium was assured.

Daruvala's first points

While Dennis battled in the thick of it from early on in his recovery, Daruvala’s progress in round seven was more calculated.
It was a conventional back-of-the-grid strategy in the sense it hinged on saving as much energy early on to then have a surplus that could be spent later to move up the order.


Race one had been a good dress rehearsal for how much bunching there could be in the pack, and how much progress could be made with the right timing. So, armed with the knowledge that the lead group could not be allowed to get away, Daruvala started with efficiency as the number one target.

He ran last early on until lap 6, activating ATTACK MODE in this phase for the first time, and the team was happy with Daruvala’s approach to saving energy. His state of charge was quickly 2.5% to 3% better than the frontrunners – almost a full lap’s extra.

Daruvala was massively under-consuming energy but at risk of leaving himself too much to do with so many cars in front, and letting them get too far away. Such was his energy advantage though that pushing a bit to catch the pack was not a problem.

daruvala dop 1

Leaping to 16th in one lap as other cars either hit trouble or activated ATTACK MODE kickstarted Daruvala’s progress on lap 13. The benefit of having more energy to use is he was either quick enough to attack the next car he encountered and keep any track position he inherited from those who had run in front of him early on.

Having built such a big advantage, Daruvala gradually closed to the fringes of the points with the rest of his surplus, making short work of the Maseratis of Nyck de Vries and Edoardo Mortara.

He crossed the line agonisingly one lap short of the points. But having been cruelly denied his first points in the first race by last lap contact, the ABB FIA Formula E universe balanced things out for him, as post-race penalties for others elevated him to 10th immediately at the flag and then ninth post-race.