Lucas di Grassi on home E-Prix: “It’s been the busiest week of my life”

Lucas di Grassi was “very happy” to see the end of his first-ever home race in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with the Brazilian having been the busiest driver all week at the inaugural São Paulo E-Prix.

The first Brazilian Formula E race has been a long time in the making for the sport’s longest-serving driver, making it no surprise that last week was “the busiest week of my life”. Unfortunately for Di Grassi, there was little to celebrate on-track, with Mahindra Racing having struggled in Brazil. Di Grassi actually started the race from last following a disastrous qualifying, due to having clipped the wall at Turn Eight. The former Formula E Champion openly admitted it was his “mistake”, with the error having really ended any hope of a points finish.

Di Grassi went on to enjoy a better race than he did qualifying, after working his way through the field from twenty-second to thirteenth. The result meant that Di Grassi’s only points this season are still from his podium in Mexico City, resulting in the Brazilian having slipped to twelfth in the Drivers’ Championship.

Reflecting on his home race, Di Grassi believes his error in qualifying didn’t change his chances of finishing in the points, with Mahindra struggling for “efficiency compared to our competitors”.

“I did a mistake in qualifying, and I take responsibility for that, but I feel I extracted the most out of the car that I could in the race. I don’t think we would have finished much higher in the race than I did, as the efficiency compared to our competitors isn’t there. We need to go back home and analyse what happened. I’m very happy the week is over! It’s been the busiest week of my life.

“But I’m very pleased with how the event went, the passion for Formula E that the crowds showed was amazing. I hope we can keep coming back here year after year so I have another chance of winning one!”

“We didn’t quite get the balance we needed” – Oliver Rowland

On the other side of the Mahindra garage, it was an equally “difficult weekend” for Oliver Rowland, with the British driver having finished in fifteenth.

Like his team-mate, Rowland endured a miserable qualifying and could only manage nineteenth on the grid, making his race that much more difficult. He did well to make some places but was slapped with a five-second penalty during the race, which was successfully overturned by the team following an appeal.

Nevertheless, it was a challenging weekend for Rowland who believes the team “tried a few too many things”, with perhaps a more simple approach being needed going forward.

“It was a difficult weekend. We didn’t quite get the balance we needed in the car and maybe tried a few too many things, when we should have just kept it simple. Qualifying wasn’t great for me, but the race was much more positive. I was a bit unlucky with how it panned out, but I’m glad the stewards reviewed the penalty situation, which eventually got overturned. There’s still lots for us all as a team to learn and work on ahead of Berlin.”

Credit: Simon Galloway courtesy of FIA Formula E