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Lotterer Gets Berlin Grid Penalty for Bird Collision

Andre Lotterer handed a grid drop for Berlin after his last-lap incident with Sam Bird…

Photo: Formula E

Andre Lotterer has received a ten-place grid penalty for the Berlin E-Prix after the final lap incident with Sam Bird in Paris on Saturday.

The DS Virgin Racing driver hit the back of Lotterer’s Techeetah Renault Z.E 17 on the final lap when the German ran out of useable energy.

Lotterer will take the grid drop for his home race next month after stewards deemed the positioning of his car in the final corner contributed to the incident which led to Bird finishing the race with three working wheels.

The stewards report stated that Lotterer: “turned left of the racing line. He then re-joined the racing line causing car No. 2 [Bird] to hit the rear.

“The Stewards noted that immediately prior to the collision the driver attempted to move out of the way but it was too late.”

The Techeetah driver ran third for much of the race but managed to make a move on Bird to grab second in the final stint.

After coming under pressure from Lucas di Grassi in the closing stages, Lotterer, who was marginal on energy, ran out completely in the final corners allowing di Grassi and Bird through.

“We were on a defensive strategy and I knew it was going to be hard but I was managing pretty well up until the last lap,” Lotterer told e-racing365.

“On the last lap our strategy asked us to save a lot and I had him [di Grassi] all over me in the mirrors and it was just a tiny bit that I should have saved more to make it.

“I hit the limit before Turn 10 just before I do my re-gen and if I would have hit that before that would have allowed me to accelerate to T12 and lift to the finish line. It was that close.”

Asked whether he felt responsible for the crash Lotterer stated that the overall situation of losing useable energy at the last corner and the speed differential meant he could not “just vanish”.

“I just tried to coast the best I could as it was the first time I have ever been in this situation,” he said.

“Obviously there is a lot of speed difference and he came pretty quick. I saw he was right, then left and the speed difference is so huge and I just went for the line and then we collided.

“When it’s a straight line it is ok but when it is corners it is a problem. I can’t just vanish.”

Lotterer was involved in a similar situation with Nelson Piquet Jr. at the opening event in Hong Kong when he was the victim of the Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver losing energy at the final turn.

“It happened to me the other way around too when I avoided Piquet in Hong Kong and I hit the wall hard,” said Lotterer.

“It is another step for me in my learning process being in that situation.

“I’m not fighting for a championship or something and I really wanted that 1-2 again but Formula E goes right to the finish line.”

Lotterer was also handed a €2500 (c. $3036) fine for leaving his pit in an unsafe manner when the mechanics were not fully clear of the car.

The German also received a penalty at Mexico City in March for a similar offence.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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