Qualifying incident and flat tire deprived the Brazilian from fighting for another podium in Berlin
An incident at qualifying and a flat tire practically deprived Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi of his chances of fighting for another podium during the 10th round of the Formula E World Championship, this Wednesday in Berlin (Germany). During the qualifying, Lucas and drivers António Félix da Costa (Portugal, DS Techeetah), Jean Eric Vergne (France, DS Techeetah), Maximilian Guenther (Germany, BMW Andretti), Sébastien Buemi (Switzerland, Nissan E.DAMS) and Mitch Evans (New Zealand, Panasonic Jaguar) was ordered by their teams to enter the track with just a few minutes to go during the Q1, the group phase of the qualifying session.
Everyone’s strategy was – as always is – to try the quick lap in the final minutes, in order to get the track surface in better grip conditions and thus gain a few tenths of a second. The pole position, as a comparison matter, was decided by just half a hundredth of a second in favour of Briton Oliver Rowland (Nissan E.DAMS), who would win the race. But Di Grassi was surprised by the cars of Vergne, Da Costa and Buemi at a slow pace when he was about to open his fast lap. As a result the Brazilian and the three other drivers crossed the finish line outside the time limit allowed to open the fast lap. Consequently the four drivers did not record times for the qualifying.
“I was in the first group, which always takes the track with less grip, and if you want to have a chance to move to Q2 you need to go to the track as close to the end of Q1 as possible,” recalls Lucas. “But when I was about to start my fast lap the cars ahead were moving so slowly that we all crossed the finish line too late,” he adds.
As a result, the Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler driver had to start from 23rd position. During the race, Lucas and the Portuguese António Félix da Costa ended up touching during an overtaking manoeuvre by the Brazilian over the DS Techeetah driver to win 14th place. The incident resulted in a right rear flat tire for Di Grassi – who went to the pits and returned to the track without any possibility of fighting for points.
“This was certainly not the result that our team dreamed of. We had the potential to fight for the podium and be in a better condition to fight for runner-up. But races are like that. Especially in Formula E, anything can happen. Tomorrow we will have the last round of the Championship and I hope that we can end the season with a good result. We will fight until the last lap ”, declared Di Grassi.
Lucas now occupies the seventh position in the standings, with 69 points. The Brazilian has mathematical chances of finishing the year as runner-up, a position that will be the goal of six more drivers in the season-ending race. The 11th round of the Formula E World Championship will have the qualifying and the race held this Thursday.