Audi E-tron FE05 #11 (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler), Lucas Di Grassi

Lucas closes on the championship leader

Brazilian finished second, got his 29th podium and is poised to fight for the points lead in the next race


Lucas Di Grassi achieved a significant result this Sunday (10) in Hong Kong during the fifth round of the Formula E World Championship. The second place conquered by the Brazilian of the Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler team placed him only two points away from the series leader, positioning Di Grassi to fight for the top of the standings on March 23rd during the Sanya e-Prix, also in China.

As Lucas himself predicted, the race was the most problematic due to the small width of the track set in the streets of Hong Kong and the surface low grip condition generated by the rain that fell before the start. The combination of these factors made it very difficult to overtake and forced the drivers to perform riskier maneuvers, always driving too close to each other as well as to the walls and barriers. Because of that the race had several interventions, such as a 15-minute interruption (red flag) and two yellow flags to remove damaged cars from the track.

The most important accident happened on the penultimate lap. Second-placed Sam Bird (England, Virgin Envision Racing team) hit leader Andre Lotterer’s car as they fought on Turn 2, causing a tire bore and breakage of the right rear suspension that forced the German driver of DS Techeetah to abandon the race. Bird then took the lead, but the race stewards analyzed the scene and initially imposed five seconds of punishment on the Briton, who ended up falling to sixth place and giving victory to the Swiss Edoardo Mortara (Venturi).

Even so, the result is provisional and can still be modified according to a possible new interpretation to be given by the FIA commissioners. In the midst of it all, Lucas, who had finished third and already extended his record to 29 podiums in Formula E (58% of all races in the series), climbed to second place in the race standings.

As longtime leader Jérôme D’Ambrosio (Belgium, Mahindra) was put off action in one of the accidents, Bird arised to the first place in the standings but now with Di Grassi right behind. The English driver now has 54 points against D’Ambrosio’s 53 and Di Grassi’s 52 points. “It was a very difficult race for everyone,” says Lucas, who started from fifth and in the first lap took two hits from opponents in the fight for positions.

“The race required maximum attention, total focus on every detail, and even then the accidents happened. We knew it was going to be complicated and I had to work hard and control every detail of every lap to get on that podium. Regardless of Bird’s punishment, we leave Hong Kong better positioned in the championship. And we need to keep the level of work done so far because the grid is very strong and competitive. We have at least four drivers from different teams in the top positions, with as many of winners in the races as well. This is Formula E. It’s a pleasure to compete in such a championship, “said Di Grassi.

Here are the top six drivers in the championship standings: 1) Sam Bird (England, Virgin Envision Racing), 54 points; 2) Jérôme D’Ambrosio (Belgium, Mahindra), 53; 3) Lucas Di Grassi (Brazil, Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler) and Edoardo Mortara (Switzerland, Venturi), 52; 5) António Félix da Costa (Portugal, BMW Andretti), 47; 6) Robin Frinjs (Netherlands, Envision Virgin).