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Lucas Di Grassi

On historic finish, Di Grassi goes out of track to win

Blocked by the leader, Brazilian makes a bold manoeuvre which reverberated throughout the world

 

Lucas Di Grassi surprised the 60,000 fans present at the e-Prix of Mexico by putting the car off the track and achieving the overtaking that would give him the victory just a few meters from the finish line. The feat lifted the already naturally animated public that was the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, which got enthusiastic about what is perhaps the most unpredictable overtaking in the history of Formula E. With the result, Di Grassi came to occupy the fourth place in the championship with 34 points, reaffirming his compromise to fight for the second title in 2019.

Lucas took second place from Briton Oliver Rowland in the 35th lap and thereafter started the pursuit of the leader Pascal Wehrlein (Germany), who had started from pole and practically had not been bothered until then. In the final laps, Di Grassi forced the leader to take several maneuvers to block him, which favoured the approaching pack coming right behind them – the photo of the arrival shows six very close cars, all fighting for a podium position.

On the final lap, all drivers had battery charges between 2% and 1%, which made the finish totally unpredictable, depending on how each one worked on their energy conservation for the last 2,000 meters. In a desperate final maneuver, Wehrlein attempted to “squeeze” Lucas by blocking the Brazilian’s move a few yards from the flag, throwing the whole car to the right. But Di Grassi surprised the German by literally getting off the track to take first place just two meters from the finish line.

“It was probably the best victory of my career in Formula E, because on this track it is difficult to overtake and make the maneuvers at the right timing,” says Di Grassi. “Initially, the strategy was to stay calm and save energy from the car. And in the end my goal was to pass correctly, which is difficult here. I was able to overtake Oliver Rowland even when he was in attack mode (which gives the driver extra power), “says Lucas.

The overtaking that earned him the victory was more risky. “Wehrlein was a little more than aggressive to defend the position. I knew he was running out of energy. On the last lap, I was right behind, I pretended to try to pass through the outside and with that I made him open a small space, enough to put my car. And I went there. It was a very crazy last lap. He closed the door, but I managed to pass and win. I did not believe I had it. ”

Formula E has done through four rounds, all with different winners. The next race will be held on March 10 in Hong Kong. Check out the championship standings: 1) Jérôme D’Ambrosio (Belgium), 53 points; 2) António Félix da Costa (Portugal), 46; 3) Sam Bird (England), 45; (4) Lucas Di Grassi (Brazil), 34; 5) Pascal Wehrlein (Germany), 30; 6) Andre Lotterer (Germany), 29.