Lucas di Grassi (ROKiT Venturi Racing) has praised Formula E's safety after a number of cars - including the lead trio - aquaplaned into the wall at Turn 6 following a flash downpour over parts of the Brooklyn Street Circuit.
Di Grassi was running second behind leader and eventual Round 11 winner Nick Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing) when, on Lap 30, rapid, heavy rain saw a number of turns hit by standing water out of nowhere.
A Full Course Yellow was called but Cassidy, di Grassi and Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) - as well as standings leader Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) - couldn't help but aquaplane straight on and into the wall. A number of other drivers fell foul in impossible conditions as the race was brought to an early conclusion with a Red Flag by Race Director Scott Elkins.
Di Grassi said the shunt was the biggest of his career at some 15G and an approach speed to the scene of the accident of more than 100kph.
"The crash today was the strongest crash of my Formula E career and one of the strongest crashes I've had in motorsport - it was well over 15G but I'm okay and it just shows that when you're aquaplaning, there's nothing you can do," said the Brazilian.
"The rain came, and you could see that the cars were sliding more and more every lap. Thankfully these cars are extremely safe. The car was pretty much destroyed, but that shows how safe these cars are.
"I crashed into Nick at at least 100kph in a totally standstill car, and then Stoffel crashed into me at a similar speed. I'm very happy with the safety of the car and I'm happy that all the other drivers are also 100%.
"I'm happy that they put the Red Flag out and they made the decision at the end of the race, and I'm happy with the points but unhappy that the car is completely in pieces. The mechanics will have to work very, very hard to put the car together for tomorrow."
Silverware but more fine-tuning needed
Di Grassi was competitive throughout, with teammate Mortara marooned a little way down the order comparitively - on the cusp of the top 10 until the final minutes of the curtailed race.
Di Grassi was pleased to be able to make good on qualifying promise and do a job for the team and his teammate - with both hunting World Championship titles.
Despite the silverware, the Brazilian still feels he's more to unlock from the Silver Arrow 02 run by the Venturi team as the season heads into the final five rounds.
"Everything started with good qualifying. We managed to start third, on the clean side of the track, I managed to pass Stoffel at the start and I was chasing Nick for a great part of the race until I had a little bit of a fight with Stoffel, lost position and then gained again.
"It was a non-eventful race for Formula E standards: everybody had a very similar pace and very similar energy around me, and so I think by the last laps, it would've been very interesting to see who had to do more temperature management and would have struggled with energy or car balance.
"I'm trying to help my team as much as possible, but also I'm doing it for myself, for my championship. We had very bad luck at the beginning of the season, with some punctures, some other small issues and me adapting to the car at different tracks. Adapting to the Mercedes car was easy up to a certain point, but then with the last differences, I'm still struggling to understand the car and make sure I make the right call.
"This podium definitely is very important, because my point scoring has been improving quite a lot. I want to keep the momentum up and score more points for the team and for myself, to finish this season on a high and finish the second generation of Formula E after eight years of racing. Seoul will be our 100th race, so we'll try to finish the dhampionship on a high."
Published on 17th July 2022
3 min read