Brazilian retrospect totals 1 win and 3 second places in 42 days
Lucas Di Grassi obtained his third consecutive podium in the FIA Formula E World Championship this Saturday (28), in eighth round held on the streets of Paris. The current world champion also set his second race best lap of the season – the first had been in Mexico – and secured the championship extra point. With the result, Di Grassi jumped from eighth to fifth in the standings even though facing mechanical failures in the first four races. “It was an exciting weekend on a most difficult track in terms of overtaking,” said Lucas.
“I am happy with the result. We could have gone better in qualifying – and that would have put us into the fight for the win – but if you consider that we started from sixth and finished second after very intense battles, I think it was a great job from everyone in the team, “he said. “Once again we were very competitive and we came very close to victory. We wait for Berlin, the next race. This good level of the whole team could finally give us the first victory of the year, “said the Brazilian.
Strategy – After being fastest in free practice in Paris, Lucas was sixth on the grid. The two Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler cars struggled to warm their tires at a relatively cool track temperature – and as a result Lucas did not enter the superpole session by a margin of only 0s005.
On a track famous for allowing few opportunities for overtaking – as the race proved later -, Di Grassi once again used the strategy of saving battery energy before the mandatory pit stop for car swap. The plan of the Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler team worked well again. At the start, Lucas jumped to fifth and went on to closely follow fifth-placed German Maro Engel (Venturi). When the leaders stopped on the 24 lap, Di Grassi still had enough power for two more laps – a fact that allowed him to overtake Engel when Lucas came back from his own stop, although he was hampered by latecomer Felix Rosenquist.
With the car well-tuned and using the energy he managed to save, Lucas set off for the British Sam Bird (DS Virgin team), getting the third place in the 36th lap. From there the Brazilian driver began the most dramatic battle of the race, trying to overtake André Lotterer. The German team driver, however, in addition to trying to secure second place for himself was also playing team Techeeta’s strategy to preserve team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne race leadership. In the dispute with Di Grassi, the German pushed the Brazilian twice against the wall. But it just postponed the inevitable.
Lucas consistently attacked Lotterer to the point where the German consumed much of the energy of his car in an attempt to defend second position. On the final lap, only a few meters from the checkered flag, the Techeeta car completely exhausted its energy and Lotterer could not prevent Luca’s attempts to overtake him. Right after Lucas got second place, British Sam Bird also charged over Lotterer. The British dived into André’s right side, but the maneuver had consequences: Bird’s car hit the back of Lotterer’s, destroying the front suspension of the Brit’s F-E. Even so Bird incredibly managed to cross the finish line with the front right wheel hanging. Lotterer still had momentum to cross crossed the line in sixth, despite the rear wing destroyed on the accident.
Four podium finishes – Next Sunday, Lucas will be back at the wheel for the fifth round of the Brazilian Stock Car Championship in Londrina. That will be the fifth consecutive weekend in which Di Grassi will be racing in official competitions. In the past 42 days, Lucas has been on the podium four times in five races: he scored a Stock victory in Curitiba (April 8), as well as three second place finishes in Formula E in Uruguay (17 March), Italy (14 April) and France (April 28).