Jean-Eric Vergne “almost ruined the championship” according to Lucas di Grassi, following their clash while battling for fourth position in Saturday’s London Formula E race.
With eight laps remaining in the first of the Battersea Park double-header, DS Virgin Racing’s Vergne was running fourth. Championship leader di Grassi, eager to put more clear air (and a car) between himself and title rival Sebastien Buemi, tried to pass down the inside, resulting in contact between the two.
Di Grassi lost part of his front-right wheel fairing, leaving him to fight off Buemi in the final stages of the race. Vergne, meanwhile, finished third after Oliver Turvey crashed in front of him, vaulting the Frenchman onto the podium. Di Grassi was extremely unimpressed.
“He left a gap,” di Grassi told Current E after the race. “In many, many other cases, another 20 cases, he closed the door and I was very fair. When he closed the door, I didn’t do anything. But at one point he left the door open so he was on the outside of the track. I went completely on the inside and he just turned on me. There was nothing I could do to avoid it. There was a wall on the inside and him on the outside. He almost ruined the championship.”
Asked why Vergne may have acted as he did, di Grassi was even more scathing: “He has nothing to lose. He’s leaving the team. I don’t know what he’s going to do next year. He has nothing to lose so far him, crash or finish on the podium, especially with the championship contender, was the easiest decision he could take. It almost happened that we lost today 10 points because of this situation. I don’t think it’s fair or very thoughtful to be like this.”
Vergne apparently thought little of the incident. When asked by Current E for his view, he said: “He has a championship to win. He is taking a risk. He’s not a beginner. He put the front-wing [alongside] and he thinks I’m going to open the door to him. Not like this. I’m a fighter. I think he should consider himself lucky not to have had a black and orange flag like many other drivers have when they lost their front wing. I have nothing more to say really.”
When told by Current E that Vergne thought little of the incident, di Grassi retorted: “That just proves what an idiot he is because he’s not fighting for a championship….For that to be normal to him is already doesn’t make any sense. For sure it was not normal in my view. I would never do that to an opponent. I think the move was completely stupid because it’s a move you either crash or you don’t overtake. There is no other solution. A smart racer, a good racer knows how to overtake and how to get overtaken, like Seb did with Bird. A clever racer, a good racer knows how to position himself so that situation doesn’t happen and knows when that situation happens, what to do not to crash his car. And clearly JEV didn’t do that and he doesn’t do that often. And that’s why he’s in the back of the championship.”