Lucas di Grassi says the nature of the Berlin track and clean race required him to focus more on energy saving en route to his second win of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship season on Saturday.
The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver overtook Sebastien Buemi on the fifth lap and remained out front for the rest of the race which ran green for all but a six-minute Full Course Yellow period late on.
It marked a stark contrast to most other races this season, which have been plagued by incidents requiring lengthy FCY or safety car periods and, in some cases, red flags.
This dynamic has allowed drivers to save energy while running at reduced speed under caution periods, leading to flat-out sprint races instead of Formula E’s traditional energy-saving runs.
“I used energy to pass Seb so I had to save energy, and I stayed in front of him and tried to maintain the gap,” di Grassi told e-racing365.
“I was pushing as hard as I could but having to consume less energy. Just trying to save energy but try to stay ahead.
“Then, with [Antonio Felix] da Costa coming along with Attack Mode and creating a little bit of a mess, I managed to open a small gap.
“From that moment, for me, the race was more controllable.”
The only break from green-flag racing came when Alex Lynn stopped on the pit straight with 15 minutes on the clock, calling for a FCY period which went green again with nine minutes and one lap remaining.
“In Formula E, you never know, maybe that Full Course Yellow could have been a safety car, so you have to always be very aware of what’s happening,” explained di Grassi.
“It was [less of a sprint race] for the first part but then there was a Full Course Yellow and it became a sprint race.”
He says the nature of the Tempelhof track, which features several long straights followed by heavy braking zones, uses considerably more energy than some of Formula E’s city center tracks, further necessitating energy management.
“On this track, you consume a lot of energy because you accelerate and you brake, and you accelerate and you brake,” di Grassi said..
“This track consumes a lot of energy so by nature, in 45 minutes on this track, you use more energy than you use in Paris, or pretty much every other race, or Rome. Here is a lot of energy saving.”
Focus on Own Performance in Title Hunt
Lucas di Grassi played down his interest in the championship hunt in post-race interviews, but said he’s only focusing on his own performance with three races remaining.
He moved into second position in the standings, six points behind Jean-Eric Vergne, and with a total of 87 points up for grabs in Bern and the New York City double-header.
“I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, and try to win every race,” he said. “Of course, this would be very unlikely, being in Group 1 in qualifying, but in the end you have to score as many points as possible.
“I’ll try to make as [few] mistakes as possible in the next three races, score as [many] points, and see how the championship ends.
“If we are there for the fight, if we are there for the win, great. If we are not, we also did our best.
“My philosophy is always like this, to always focus on yourself, try to do the best I can. If I can do the best I can, I can go home happy.
“If we win, of course we celebrate, but if we don’t, we did our best.”