Formula E: Lucas di Grassi extends Formula E lead in Monaco

Lucas di Grassi comes to his German team ABT Sportsline’s home race in Berlin as championship leader: the Brazilian showed what a fighter he is in the streets of Monaco, and with second place increased his overall championship lead in the electric racing series. For team mate Daniel Abt, the ePrix was over in the first corner after a competitor forced him into the barriers.

It was the fifth podium finish for Lucas di Grassi in the seventh Formula E race. The second place in Monaco was one of his most hard-fought results: the Brazilian followed the later winner Sébastien Buemi throughout the entire 47 laps and very nearly took the lead after the pit stop. In the second half of the race, di Grassi came under increasing pressure from his compatriot Nelson Piquet Jr., who also attacked the championship leader with the aid of the FanBoost – but without success. It was a close battle: the first three across the line were only separated by four-and-a-half seconds.

“I wanted to attack from second on the grid and fight for the win today, but unfortunately it didn’t work out,” says Lucas di Grassi. Nevertheless, the delight far outweighed the disappointment: “Five races on the podium speaks for itself, and to be presented with a trophy by Prince Albert today is an extraordinary experience. However, what’s even more important is that we come to Berlin as championship leader. With the support of the many fans and partners we aim to finish on the top step of the podium again in Berlin.”

A trophy was also the stated goal of Daniel Abt, who shone in qualifying yet again to take fifth on the grid. However, the youngster was a victim of the narrow street circuit in the first corner: Nico Prost tried to overtake around the outside and pushed the German into the barriers in the process. The result: an early bath for Daniel Abt, five other cars involved and a safety car until the stricken cars and debris were cleaned up.

“I didn’t expect the race to end like this. I simply don’t understand the behavior in the first corner,” said an angry Daniel Abt. “Everybody knows that it’s narrow in Monaco and you have to make room – it’s a real shame that after such a maneuver a few cars are out of the race after just a couple of hundred meters.” The race stewards investigated the incident but decided against taking any further action. “I wanted to come to Berlin with good momentum. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, but this doesn’t change anything about my enthusiasm for our home race. I can hardly wait to drive in a Formula E race in Germany for the first time in a fortnight.”

The race in Monaco was the first event for the series in Europe – and also one of the highlights of the season so far. “This event in Monaco was Formula E at its best. Perfect organization, packed grandstands and enthusiastic fans,” says Hans-Jürgen Abt. The Team Boss’s sporting summary: “Of course I’m disappointed for Daniel, who in my opinion is an innocent victim in a situation so typical for Monaco. But he proved his speed once again and will strike back in Berlin. Lucas battled brilliantly, attacked the leader and defended his position from behind. With only four races to go, we are in with a real shout for the title with him. But we have to improve as it’ll be incredibly close in Berlin, Moscow and London.”

Lucas di Grassi has increased his lead in the drivers’ classification from one to four points. In the teams’ standings, ABT Sportsline remains second behind the Renault factory team. The battle in Formula E continues in only two weeks – with another highlight for the sole German team: ABT Sportsline contests its home race in Berlin. The event is held on the grounds of the former airport Tempelhof on 23 May. The resonance in the media and among fans for the second European outing is already record-breaking.