Lucas di Grassi has dominated in Long Beach today and reclaimed the Formula E Championship points lead. Today’s victory comes three weeks after finishing first in Mexico City only to face an excruciating disqualification, according to the Grand Prix Times.
Hours after he took the checkered flag in the Mexico City race, di Grassi’s car was found to be under the legal weight limit. His car was 1.8 kg too light, stripping him of the win after a grueling, chaotic 43 lap race. His car weighed 886.2 kg, which was 1.8 kg below the minimum of 888 kg.
Lucas di Grassi, a Brazilian driver, was born in Sao Paulo in 1984. His career in karting started in his youth, peaking in 2000 with a fifth place in the Formula A World Championship. His Formula racing career began in Brazilian Formula Renault in 2002, finishing as runner-up. From 2003 to 2006 he raced in Formula Three, finishing as the Championship runner-up behind Danilo Dirani with one win and eleven other podium finishes, even after missing the last six races after a major crash at the Curitiba round. He then traveled to other countries, continuing with Formula Three in the F3 Euroseries with the Prema Powerteam, with his best finish in fourth place. The next year he moved to Europe permanently and drove in the British F3 Championship. He had two wins that season and finished in eighth place in the Championship. From 2006 to 2009 he was in the GP2 series and had eight points and finished 17th in the championship standings.
He got his start as a Formula 1 driver in 2008 to 2010, first as a test driver for Renault, then a full-time driver for Virgin. He now competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship for Audi Sport Team Joest, as well as driving for Shaeffler Audi Sport ABT in the Formula E Championship.
He was the first driver in motor sport history to win a motor race in an all-electric single seater racing car at the 2014 Beijing ePrix. In 2014 di Grassi had five podium finishes: Putrajaya, Punta del Este, Long Beach, Monaco and Moscow. In 2015 he had 3 consecutive podium finishes in the opening three races, winning the Putrajaya ePrix. As a result of these victories, he set a new record at the Beunos ePrix for the most consecutive podium finishes, with four.
Today’s win puts him in first place overall as he heads to Paris in three weeks. Lucas not only took first place in today’s race, he also shared the podium with his teammate, Daniel Abt, who finished third. Venturi’s Stéphane Sarrazin took second place, finishing only 0.787 of a second behind di Grassi, according to AutoBlog. His title rival, Sebastien Buemi, crashed into Robin Frijns, causing him to pit early, ending up with only the points for setting fastest lap, since he finished two laps down. He had to swap cars, finishing three laps down in the 16th lap.
In lap 13, di Grassi took the lead from Sam Bird ahead of the round of pit stops. Nelson Piquet Jr overshot the first chicane and crashed into the wall, triggering a late safety car, according to Motorsport.com. The incident caused a three lap shootout.
The frenzied pace continued during the final three laps with Lucas finishing first, ahead of Stephane Sarrazin and his own teammate, Daniel Abt. As a result of the chaos toward the end, Simona de Silvestro was able to score points. She placed ninth, and was the first female driver ever to score points in Formula E. Nick Heidfeld and Bruno Senna finished in fourth and fifth places, respectively, with Sam Bird in sixth.
The finish of this race has di Grassi in first place at the top of the championship standings, just one point ahead of Sebastien Buemi. The next Formula E race will be the Paris ePrix on April 23.
[Photo by Gus Ruelas/AP Images]