Lucas di Grassi and Antonio Felix da Costa took their on-track clash during Wednesday’s Berlin E-Prix off track in a prolonged war of words after the race, each accusing the other to be at fault and painting two very different versions of the same collision.
Both drivers started from the back of the field after missing out on group qualifying and were recovering through the field when around a third into the race they made contact approaching Turn 1. Di Grassi was using Attack Mode and held a power advantage over da Costa, but instead of cleanly sweeping around the outside, the two drivers instead made contact, spinning Di Grassi out.
Stewards quickly announced an investigation following the collision, and Di Grassi was handed a 5-second time penalty for the move, much to his bemusement.
“To be honest when I got a 5 second time penalty, I really thought it was [for earlier contact he made] with Günther,” said di Grassi after the race. “It was clearly Da Costa’s fault. With Günther you can argue – Günther crashed into d’Ambrosio and I was behind and I crashed into him just because I was so close, and that I think led to a puncture for him. But the da Costa crash? To have a penalty for that? To be honest I don’t understand.”
Da Costa hit back at Di Grassi’s suggestion that he was to blame for the incident, saying during the post-race press conference that the move was no different than what he did to his rivals in seasons past.
“He must be blind then, Lucas,” said da Costa. “You can go back to Paris Season 3 – he’s done exactly the same thing to me, he did it to Massa, so I don’t know what he expects, if I can disappear or whatever or if he thinks that I’m just going to let him through.
“He needs to give the other people space – he needs to respect other people you know? I overtook eleven cars – did not touch anyone. I don’t know what he’s trying to accomplish with that.”
The race ended up being a fruitless one for both drivers. Di Grassi finished in 21st position after sustaining a right rear puncture, while da Costa was not classified due to a mechanical failure on the final lap. “On the last lap I just had a full system shutdown,” explained Da Costa. “The whole thing just went completely blacked out. I lost the rear brakes, so I was actually pretty lucky I missed the corner completely because I couldn’t stop the car and I missed Buemi by nothing! In the end it just wasn’t our day. I don’t know if we used all of our luck leading up to this day! As I told my team, we clean it out of our heads, positive energies – it’s going to be fine.”