Di Grassi right back in title fight with Berlin win

by Scott Douglas

Lucas di Grassi cruised to his second victory of the season at the Berlin ePrix and in doing so brought himself right back into contention for the driver’s title.

The Brazilian secured Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s second consecutive win on home soil and with it he moved into second place in the standings only six points off leader Jean-Eric Vergne.

Di Grassi held his third place position off the grid but Audi’s predicted superiority on energy management saw him sail past Stoffel Vandoorne and Sebastien Buemi.

He pulled a gap later in the race, and a full course yellow late on after Alex Lynn stopped on track did little to stifle his progress as he also secured the extra point for fastest lap.

Speaking afterwards Di Grassi said, “It feels very, very good. We worked so hard in the past races, but qualifying was always hampering us.

“And then in this race we managed to qualify well and use the right [amount] of energy at the right time, use attack mode at the right time and everything went very good. I’m super happy.”

Behind him Buemi held off early pressure from behind to secure his first podium of the season after a struggle so far this year for the Nissan e.dams driver.

Reigning champion Vergne showed his class to get the final podium position after he came through from eighth, with the DS Techeetah driver launching several late lunges into the hairpin to great effect.

That included a move on Antonio Felix da Costa, and although the BMW i Andretti driver fought back initially, he eventually succumbed to the superior pace of the Techeetah car.

Vandoorne slipped back to fifth from his front row grid slot, and Daniel Abt was unable to repeat his success in Berlin last year as he started and finished in sixth.

Alex Sims was seventh in the other BMW car with Oliver Rowland and Sam Bird making good progress in the middle part of the race to grab eighth and ninth.

Pascal Wehrlein got the final points position but it was a disappointing race for Mahindra Racing with Jerome D’Ambrosio finishing down in seventeenth, indicating the team have slipped behind their rivals after their searing early season pace.

And Andre Lotterer’s ended what had already been a terrible day by retiring late on.

The German wasn’t able to put in a full power qualifying lap after his team misjudged the timings, and he started on the back row as a result.

Although he made limited progress in the race he had points within sight when he was forced to pull into the pits with just a few laps to go.

Lotterer had been in second place in the driver’s standings going into Berlin, but now drops back to third, sixteen points behind his team-mate Vergne.

Credit: Formula E

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