Over the course of the season, ERN senior editor Laurence Thorn will be rating the performances of all drivers and teams on each ePrix weekend.
This time around, he takes a look at ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport and their two drivers, Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt, in Beijing.
[/vc_column_text][cq_vc_tabs contentcolor1=”#1a1a1a” contentbg1=”#ffffff” tabstitle=”ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport – 8/10,Lucas di Grassi – 8.5/10,Daniel Abt – 6.5/10″ tabsicon=”” titlecolor=”#5da73c” titlebg=”#ffffff” titlehovercolor=”#ffffff” titlehoverbg=”#5da73c” rotatetabs=”0″][tabitem]
ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport – 8/10
Solid start to the season with a podium for di Grassi
ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, third in the teams’ championship last season, kicked off the new Formula E campaign with a solid performance in Beijing. While the Renault-powered e.Dams cars were clearly the class of the field, the German team was able to get a lot of pace out of their Schaeffler powertrains, with Lucas di Grassi reaching the Super Pole in qualifying. Team-mate Daniel Abt, meanwhile, qualified just outside the top ten. In the race, the German cars showed good pace, with di Grassi jumping up from fourth on the grid to third on the second lap, ahead of e.Dams’ Prost. Abt was involved in many battles and remained 11th. At the pit stops, di Grassi managed to leapfrog Nick Heidfeld into 2nd, a position he would hold to the end. Team-mate Abt would gain a few places in the pits and finish 9th on track – however the stewards adjudged him to have been unsafely released, so he was dropped back to 11th.
Lucas di Grassi (qualified 4th, finished 2nd) – 8.5/10
Taking the fight to Renault e.Dams
Brazil’s Lucas di Grassi was one of the consistently best drivers over the course of the Beijing ePrix race day. 15th in free practice one was followed by first in free practice two, right ahead of team-mate Abt. As was often the case in season 1, di Grassi had the pace edge on his team-mate, which he showed again in qualifying as he reached the Super Pole session. On his Super Pole lap itself, he made a few driving errors which put him 4th on the grid. Lap two of the race, however, saw him pass Nicolas Prost – in the much faster Renault e.Dams – and get into the podium positions. After some close battling, di Grassi entered the pits at the same time as the majority of front runners, coming out ahead of Nick Heidfeld and up into second place. Try as he might, di Grassi could not keep pace with Sebastien Buemi in the leading e.Dams car, so settled for a comfortable second place ahead of Heidfeld.
Daniel Abt (qualified 11th, finished 11th) – 6.5/10
Penalty robs Abt of a points-scoring position
Daniel Abt wants to prove this season that the flashes of potential and pace he showed last time round can be turned into a consistent campaign. The early signs are promising from the Kempten native, while also showing the pace and experience deficit he still has to team-mate di Grassi. After 8th in the first free practice session and 2nd in the second session, Abt topped the times in the first qualifying group, however had to watch on as ten other drivers beat his time, dropping him down to 11th. In the race, he was heavily involved in a lot of close midfield battling, and managed to stay in 11th place behind Dragon Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio prior to the car swap phase – in which he unfortunately struck a mechanic from his team, who was unhurt. Despite rising to 10th at the stops, and 9th by the end as Nicolas Prost retired, Abt would be hit with a post-race ten second penalty for that unsafe release, dropping him to 11th.
Images courtesy of FIA Formula E Media