Lucas di Grassi says the timing of the safety car in the Formula E Marrakesh race put the Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler driver in a “crappy situation”.
The 2016/17 champion still had one use of the new Attack Mode feature, where running off-line through an activation zone gives the driver a power boost, left when the safety car came after the collision between the two BMW Andretti cars.
By the time the safety car came in only one lap of the race remained, which meant he lost at least two of the four minutes Attack Mode can be used for.
“The safety car was in an unlucky moment. I didn’t use my Attack Mode, Bird and Frijns just passed me using their second one so it was a crappy situation,” he told FormulaSpy.
Di Grassi started from 11th on the grid as a water pump failure on his car in practice meant he could not do a 250kW lap before qualifying. He managed to recover to race the Envision Virgin Racing cars for the podium before finishing seventh.
“Up to qualifying I didn’t do any fast lap, at 225kW or 250kW. So when I went into qualifying it was really unknown. Of course I braked sometimes too early, sometimes too late because you have zero reference.
“I went from 11th to fourth at one point, I was fighting with Jerome [d’Ambrosio] but then in the end of the race for some reason we lost a lot of pace, we need to understand if it’s the tyre or whatever.”
Di Grassi believes Audi still need to improve the car after scoring a ninth and a seventh in the opening two races and being beaten by its customer team Virgin in Marrakesh.
“What we need to improve is brake efficiency, set-up and this stuff you can improve.
“With the drivetrain I don’t think we have an advantage but at the same time we don’t have any big loss. We are average, now it’s much more competitive. DS is super fast, BMW is fast, Jaguar is fast, everybody.
“So in qualifying I think we need to improve the car and in the race improve the strategy.”
Want the latest Formula 1, Formula E & IndyCar news sent directly to you? Subscribe here!