Lucas di Grassi: Recovery to runner-up spot in standings 'a miracle'

Lucas di Grassi says his driving in Formula E's fourth season was "better" than his title-winning campaign in 2016/17, and called his recovery to second in the points a "miracle"

Lucas di Grassi: Recovery to runner-up spot in standings 'a miracle'

Di Grassi's title defence suffered a disastrous blow when he retired from the first four races of the 2017/18 season primarily due to a problem with the inverter in his Audi powertrain.

The former Virgin Racing Formula 1 driver finally scored points following a fix being identified ahead of the Mexico City round in March, although it was not introduced until the next event in Punta del Esta, and did not finish off the podium at any of the final seven races.

His second place in last weekend's New York finale gave him enough points to push Sam Bird - the only driver who could have stopped Jean-Eric Vergne from clinching the season four title heading into the double-header - down to third place in the drivers' championship.

"The season started on a very low, not scoring for four races," di Grassi told Autosport.

"Then getting all the way up to finishing second, [to become] vice-champion is just a miracle, and to win the teams' championship.

"Seven podiums in a row showed that we were super competitive and when the car didn't break down we had all the tools to get a good result and I'm super proud of what the team achieved.

"The difficult part was not to get that mental spiral that you doubt yourself or anything during these first four or five races.

"I think I drove better this year than I drove last year because I didn't do any mistakes."

When asked about his penalty in qualifying for Punta del Este, which arguably cost him pole position and a first race win of the season, di Grassi replied: "I crashed [on Sunday in New York] too.

"What I mean is that I didn't do any mistakes that compromised points, or crashed and destroyed the car and comprised the race.

"Of course, everybody does small mistakes here and there.

"But I did less mistakes than last year, I drove more on the edge, I had to risk more, overtake much more, and I'm super happy with my driving."

Di Grassi won race one in New York and then pushed Vergne hard for the second event - actually briefly going into the rear of his rival's car at the final corner during the closing stages.

"When you are very close in Formula E, and the difference in speed in the corners, you need to stay close," he said of the incident.

"You also don't want to waste energy, so if you have to stop to brake more, you waste energy so you try to stay as close as possible.

"I touched JEV like two or three times - very small touches - just with the point of the nose. It's part of racing."

shares
comments
2017/18 Formula E champion Vergne 'even hungrier' for more success
Previous article

2017/18 Formula E champion Vergne 'even hungrier' for more success

Next article

The redemption of a 'destroyed' F1 outcast

The redemption of a 'destroyed' F1 outcast
Mortara turns up the heat on Formula E title rivals in Marrakech scorcher Plus

Mortara turns up the heat on Formula E title rivals in Marrakech scorcher

Formula E’s unplanned return to Marrakech provided teams with a fresh challenge in old but familiar surroundings, as Edoardo Mortara kept his cool in melting conditions to triumph and retake the championship lead

Formula E
Jul 4, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How Evans kept cool in Jakarta heat to renew his Formula E title push Plus

How Evans kept cool in Jakarta heat to renew his Formula E title push

Jean-Eric Vergne had comfortably taken a landmark pole for Formula E's first visit to Indonesia and looked set to win his first race of a highly consistent campaign. But the DS Techeetah driver couldn't answer a late attack from Jaguar's Mitch Evans, who profited from the Frenchman's change in battery management tactics to seize a third win of the campaign

Formula E
Jun 6, 2022
Why de Vries' F1 practice debut could add a new path to his current crossroads Plus

Why de Vries' F1 practice debut could add a new path to his current crossroads

A Formula 2 and Formula E champion, Nyck de Vries is currently considering where his future in motorsport lies. Continuing in WEC and Formula E is possible and he's also courted glances Stateside after impressing in an IndyCar test. But ahead of his Formula 1 FP1 debut with Williams, he could have another option if he impresses...

Formula 1
May 18, 2022
How Jake Dennis’ struggles turned him into a Formula E front-runner Plus

How Jake Dennis’ struggles turned him into a Formula E front-runner

Having emerged as one of Formula E’s strongest drivers in his one-and-a-half seasons in the championship, Jake Dennis cemented his place in the series with a breakout maiden season. But it's not always been smooth sailing for the Brit

Formula E
May 10, 2022
How Vandoorne recaptured Mercedes' winning feeling in Monaco Plus

How Vandoorne recaptured Mercedes' winning feeling in Monaco

The Mercedes Formula 1 team is struggling, but its Formula E arm is in fine form at the moment and once again leads the drivers' standings courtesy of Stoffel Vandoorne. Here's how the Belgian took a well-judged Monaco victory to emerge at the head of the brewing four-way championship tussle

Formula E
May 2, 2022
Will lighter, greener, faster Gen3 deliver on Formula E's many promises? Plus

Will lighter, greener, faster Gen3 deliver on Formula E's many promises?

With a fighter-jet inspired design, revamped technical specifications and a new tyre supplier, Formula E's Gen3 car is set to shake up the series. But can it deliver on all of the promises that Formula E has set out to ensure that manufacturers consider the outlay on going racing in an all-electric arena worthwhile?

Formula E
Apr 29, 2022
Why spanning different genres has lent Lotterer's career longevity Plus

Why spanning different genres has lent Lotterer's career longevity

Although now well into his 24th consecutive season in racing, Andre Lotterer has no intention of winding his career down. Here he talks to Autosport about his and Porsche's continued progress in Formula E, his love for racing in Japan, and recalls his sole Formula 1 outing - and considers what's next in his lengthy career

Formula E
Apr 27, 2022