Di Grassi stops the rot

If there was any driver in the Long Beach paddock that needed a strong result it was Lucas di Grassi. The Audi Sport ABT driver had a steely focus throughout the build-up to the race and was clearly determined to stop a poor run of results.

After winning the opening race of the year in Beijing, di Grassi strung together two more top-three finishes in Putrajaya and Punta del Este to sit comfortably at the top of the drivers’ standings. But in Buenos Aires it started to unravel.

Through no fault of his own di Grassi fell victim to a suspension issue whilst in the lead in Argentina and then could only manage ninth in Miami with yet more mechanical problems. Nicolas Prost’s first Formula E victory for e.dams-Renault meant the Brazilian lost the championship lead for the first time this season.

Di Grassi looked in ominous form in the morning’s practice sessions in Long Beach but only managed fourth on the grid in qualifying with the top-16 cars separated by under a second. For a moment it looked like his luck may have run out completely as his 12V battery caused fumes to pour out of his car in parc ferme. However, the car was ready come lights out.

Both Audi Sport ABT drivers were running nose-to-tail for the majority of the race but polesitter Daniel Abt had to serve a drive-through penalty for exceeded 150kW and handed third place to di Grassi.

He said: “It’s an honour to be back in the lead of the championship. We should have had a very good result in Buenos Aires and a good result in Miami without the mechanical failures, which were neither mine nor the team’s fault. To return to the podium was the main goal here even if it was my fourth podium in six races…it was off the back of two tough results.”