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Di Grassi: F1 drivers would struggle to adapt to Formula E

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PARIS – Lucas di Grassi has clarified comments made in an interview where he said that Formula 1 champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel would “have a hard time” in Formula E.

Di Grassi raced for Virgin Racing back in 2010 on the same grid as Hamilton and Vettel, but has since found success in sportscars and Formula E.

The Brazilian finished third in the inaugural Formula E drivers’ championship for the ABT Audi Sport team, and currently leads the standings ahead of this weekend’s Paris ePrix.

In an interview with CNN, di Grassi said that he thought the likes of Hamilton and Vettel would struggle to get to grips with Formula E.

“They would have a hard time in Formula E,” Di Grassi said.

“They are incredible drivers. I raced with them since we were kids in go-karts. They are the most talented drivers of our generation and maybe, I would say, a lifetime.

“But if they came to Formula E they would have to learn the tracks, they are city tracks. I would invite them to come to race and see how it is. They would be tough competition but they would have a hard time.”

In a press conference ahead of this weekend’s race in Paris, di Grassi clarified his comments, saying that he did not think Hamilton and Vettel would not succeed in Formula E, but simply that not all those who had made the switch from F1 to the series had hit the ground running.

“I would like to comment on something said on CNN, that I said Vettel and Hamilton would have a difficult time in Formula E,” di Grassi said.

“I said that and I mean it. They are the most outstanding guys of our generation. I wouldn’t say that they won’t succeed, but it’s so different and it’s so difficult to drive.

“Formula E is so different to anything else. You see a lot of very good drivers who did not succeed in Formula E. You can see here in this line-up sitting here together and the drivers out on track, they are extremely good.”

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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