Lucas di Grassi says Saturday’s Mexico City E-Prix was the “craziest” race in his ABB FIA Formula E Championship career, as the defending series champion came from last on the grid to score his first points of the season.
The Brazilian took his Audi e-tron FE04 to a ninth place finish, in a race that saw teammate Daniel Abt score the German manufacturer’s first victory in the all-electric championship.
Having started 20th due to a ten-place grid penalty for inverter repairs for the second consecutive race, di Grassi charged to 13th before the mid-race pit stop, where he was forced to serve an additional five-second penalty due to not being able to utilize his full grid penalty.
It dropped him back to 16th, which saw a second charge through the field.
Di Grassi’s run was rewarded with three points, including one for the fastest race lap, following a disastrous start to the season that was marred by multiple powertrain-related issues.
“It was probably one of of my best races in Formula E today,” di Grassi told e-racing365. “I overtook all these guys, then went in the pit stop, and then I overtook them again.
“I overtook like six cars and then on the pit stop because of the five [second penalty] I lost everything. You don’t only lose time, you lose track position because then I had to overtake them [again].
“So I overtook [Jerome] d’Ambrosio three times, I overtook [Jose-Maria] Lopez twice… It was just chaos.
“We had the fastest stint of the race and the fastest lap. With all of the penalties and all the shi** we had so far… to finish the first race of the season and collect three points; I know it sounds boring but fort us it’s a great accomplishment.”
Di Grassi said his contact with Jose Maria Lopez, which resulted in a spin, didn’t cost him too much time.
“I tried to go on the inside, I locked the rear brakes and I just lost the rear,” he said.
“It was a mistake from my side; I lost a couple of seconds but I managed to turn around the car pretty quickly and go back.
“It was my craziest race. The car is completely destroyed with the [contact]. I overtook [Alex] Lynn on the last lap and then I touched the wall; it didn’t show on TV.
“But it was the race I’ve had the most fun in all my Formula E career and definitely the one where I’ve overtaken the most people in my life.”
Long-Awaited “Deserved Win” for Abt
Di Grassi has given high praise to teammate Abt, who took his long-awaited first career victory on Saturday.
It came following Abt’s disqualification from Race 2 in Hong Kong in December, which saw the German lose the win due to a discrepancy in the barcode of the technical passport.
“Since Hong Kong, which was an unfair disqualification in my view, he deserved his first Formula E win,” di Grassi said.
“He’s a quick driver and super dedicated. Today I think he will enjoy it a lot.”
With reliability woes behind him, di Grassi said he heads to the next round at Punta del Este with the goal of returning to the top step of the podium.
“We can now go to Punta without having to change any parts,” he said.
“I think our championship starts now. No problems, no penalty for the next race. We definitely still have the chance to have the most victories in Formula E, as a driver, this year.”