Lucas di Grassi looked guaranteed for his first race victory in over two years on Saturday. He had passed the DS Techeetah of Jean-Eric Vergne in a stunning overtake for the lead but just laps before the chequered flag suffered a mechanical failure.
However, ever the optimist, he told Hazel Southwell on the ground in Rome why he’d rather be competitive and lose a win than struggle at the back of the pack for points.
“It was a good day from the beginning. We were fast here,” he explained post-race in Rome.
“It was very, very difficult conditions in the race with the half-wet, half-dried and rainy again. So, probably one of my best races so far. I think I did a fantastic job keeping the car in the lead; even with the tricky conditions, the car, the mechanics and the people from Audi also did a fantastic job making the car competitive.
“By the end of the race, I think, when the track was starting to dry more, we were even more competitive, and the race was in our hands. So, it’s a shame what happened.
“We had this mechanical failure four laps to the end, which led to the guys crashing and the safety car. It’s really unfortunate that the day finished like this, but this is Formula E. We’ll keep our heads up.
“[Audi] have shown that we can be fast. We’ve shown that we can win races, and this is, for me, more important sometimes than the score itself. I would have been in a much worse position here, trying to explain why we were eighth or tenth in a normal race than that we are leading the race in very difficult conditions, and the car broke down.”
Lucas di Grassi had a strong Saturday, making his way into SuperPole and starting the E-Prix in 4th as well as topping FP1 earlier in the day.
Both di Grassi and the Audi team will hope for a repeat of their success in tomorrow’s Rome E-Prix Race 4, just without the surprising mechanical failure.