Di Grassi: No reason for Abt to let me past late in Berlin

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BERLIN, Germany – Lucas di Grassi has defended ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport teammate Daniel Abt’s decision to not to let him past on the final lap of the Formula E race in Berlin, saying that the German deserved to finish second.

Di Grassi arrived in Berlin with an 11 point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship, but will head to the season finale in London with an advantage of just one after title rival Sebastien Buemi won Saturday’s race.

Di Grassi fought from eighth on the grid to run third late on behind Abt, who was asked by the team to move aside for his teammate with three laps to go.

Abt explained after the race that he tried to let di Grassi past on the penultimate lap, but he was too far away. On the last lap, he opted not to as he was wary of also losing a position to Renault e.dams driver Nicolas Prost in fourth place.

“I think Lucas has the tools he needs to win it by himself. He’s an amazing racing driver,” Abt said.

“He again managed to finish on the podium, I don’t know how he always does it.”

Despite being denied an extra three championship points that could prove crucial in the title fight against Buemi, di Grassi said that he did not expect or want to be given the position, believing that team orders should only be used when absolutely necessary.

“I’m not a big fan of team orders unless it’s the last race and the event and really necessary for winning a title or something like this,” di Grassi said.

“Daniel did a great qualifying, a great race. He deserved a second place and it would be unfair to change place. I didn’t receive any call and I didn’t ask for any place change. I would never do that unless it was extremely necessary.

“That’s how I behave and I think how the team should behave. Unless it’s the last lap, there should be no team orders. Everybody is racing themselves and that’s how racing should be. So I’m very happy.”

The final two races of the Formula E season take place in London on July 2 and 3.

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”