Despite his impressive recovery drive to finish seventh in Saturday’s Paris E-Prix, Audi’s Daniel Abt was left frustrated with his car’s inconsistent pace, and felt a bigger result could have been possible.
Abt was in the top five in both the free practice sessions on Saturday morning but struggled to reproduce that pace in qualifying, resulting in a 14th place grid slot – his lowest position since last year’s Paris E-Prix.
“Yeah, I was super annoyed,” said Abt. “In free practice, we were always in the top five and in good shape. Then you go into qualifying, and we were group one, and we made a mistake by going out too early.
“Both me and Lucas were one second slower than what we did in free practice, the pace was just not there.
“I was just really unsatisfied because on a track like this starting down there, you can put on a good show, but it’s not the way to win races. You have to be upfront to do that, and we have to work on that.”
Asked if he knew the reasons for Audi’s inconsistent pace, Abt suggested the Michelin tyres used in Formula E were a factor and pointed towards Antonio Felix da Costa’s surprise superpole appearance as to how much performance can vary from session to session.
“I don’t understand it, that’s the problem with these tyres that we have. You sometimes see drivers like da Costa that were nowhere in free practice and then all of a sudden he puts it P2 [in qualifying]. It’s super hard to understand why some things happen,” said Abt.
“You put a new tyre on in qualifying and go a second slower than an hour earlier. That lap time was even slower than I did on 180kw, so it’s hard to understand.
Despite his lowly starting position, Abt made several impressive overtakes during the race as he recovered to finish seventh, earning him the DHL Driver of the Day award.
He survived a last-lap tussle with Sebastien Buemi, but was critical of the Renault e.dams driver afterwards for an aggressive move Abt said “could have easily ended my race”.
“I was actually half defensive, and he just dived in, hit me on my side pod, and almost put me in the wall,” said Abt.
“I had to stop on track, go full track and turn the car around. I was almost not making it to the end because you over consume so much. Once the car stops like that, you have to take so much energy to re-accelerate that I had the same issue like Lotterer in turn 10.
“I had to shut down, so I was just coasting. I had a good gap which was my only saviour, but for me, I don’t know why he did that on the last lap. He could have easily ended my race. I was just lucky to still make it, but for me, it’s not correct.”
Image Credit: Formula E
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