Di Grassi extends points lead with dominant Berlin win

Lucas di Grassi has taken a step closer to winning the inaugural Formula E title with a dominant second victory of the season at the Berlin Tempelhof circuit.

The Brazilian seized the lead from polesitter Jarno Trulli on the opening lap and was never threatened thereafter, taking his first win since the curtain-raiser in Beijing last September - and grinding to halt on track shortly after taking the chequered flag with an electrical error.

The 30-year-old, who stretched his points lead to 17, then had to be towed back to Parc Ferme, and was thankful the issue arose just after winning the race.

“After I crossed the line, about one hundred metres later the car went in to ‘error’ so somebody up there was helping me out until the end of the race!” Di Grassi said.

Jerome D'Ambrosio took second, 7.586s adrift of the winner, to secure his best result of the campaign so far, jumping Sebastien Buemi during the pitstops to take the place.

“I tried early on to fight my way up and hoped Lucas didn’t get too far ahead,” said D’Ambrosio. “Big thanks to Jay [Penske] and all the guys at Dragon, it is great to thank them all with this result.”

D’Ambrosio had earlier put a fine a decisive move on Nick Heidfeld’s Venturi car to free him from the chasing pack. After the stops the Belgian began to eat slowly away at Di Grassi’s lead, but any attempt to seriously pressure the Brazilian came to nought.

Buemi completed the podium in third, admitting afterwards that he had forgotten to use the second of his fanboosts, despite late race pressure from a charging Loic Duval in the second Dragon Racing entry.

Just behind Duval in fifth place was title contender Nelson Piquet Jr. It was a fine recovery drive from Piquet who started the event from a lowly 13th place on the grid, benefitting from fanboost.

Piquet’s points haul, which included a point for fastest lap, ensures that he still remains in touch for the title fight.

“The engineers said to me before the start not to get my hopes up as there is a very low chance of a safety car and if we finish in the top five it will be like a victory for us,” said Piquet.

“I was careful as I could be and then we did some magic with saving the energy and at the end of the race it was good and I could overtake. From this point of view we are ahead in the race for strategy with the power, so there are some positives.”

Heidfeld finished in a disappointing fifth after running in third in the early laps. The Venturi driver finished ahead of team mate Stephane Sarrazin in seventh and Jean-Eric Vergne in eighth.

Vergne was under post-race investigation for his release from the pitlane, but no action that affected the result was subsequently taken.

Completing the top 10 was Sam Bird in his Virgin Racing car and Vitantonio Liuzzi for Trulli GP.

The race was an unmitigated disaster for Trulli himself, who rapidly went backwards from pole position, and ended a miserable race in 20th and last after pulling into the pits in the closing stages.

Motorsport.com understands that the Italian, who left the track immediately after the event, suffered some power consumption problems from an early stage in the race and was unable to run with full capacity in his first stint.

Two other drivers to run into problems were Antonio Felix da Costa, who had moved up to seventh before being penalised for undercutting the minimum pitstop time, ending up 12th, and Daniel Abt, who spun down the order while battling for fourth position on the first lap, finishing down in 15th.

Race results:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team 48m19.980
Jerome D'Ambrosio Dragon Racing Formula E Team 7.586
Sebastien Buemi Team e.dams Renault 10.019
Loic Duval Dragon Racing Formula E Team 11.094
Nelson Piquet Jr. China Racing Formula E Team 11.561
Nick Heidfeld VENTURI Formula E Team 20.632
Stephane Sarrazin VENTURI Formula E Team 20.921
Jean-Eric Vergne Andretti Autosport Formula E Team 21.264
Sam Bird Virgin Racing Formula E Team 21.641
10  Vitantonio Liuzzi Trulli Formula E Team 23.222
11  Nicolas Prost Team e.dams Renault 24.188
12  Antonio Felix da Costa Amlin Aguri 24.383
13  Jaime Alguersuari Virgin Racing Formula E Team 28.180
14  Scott Speed Andretti Autosport Formula E Team 28.735
15  Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team 31.274
16  Karun Chandhok Mahindra Racing Formula E Team 32.289
17  Charles Pic China Racing Formula E Team 33.077
18  Salvador Duran Amlin Aguri 51.743
19  Bruno Senna Mahindra Racing Formula E Team 53.843
20  Jarno Trulli Trulli Formula E Team 2 Laps

 

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About this article
Series Formula E
Event Berlin ePrix
Track Berlin Tempelhof Airport
Drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. , Lucas di Grassi , Jérôme d'Ambrosio , Sébastien Buemi
Article type Race report