Jean-Éric Vergne: “It’s up to us to keep working hard to get more results like this!”

Double Formula E Champion Jean-Éric Vergne well and truly got his season and DS Penske‘s underway at the inaugural Hyderabad E-Prix, following one of the greatest defensive performances ever seen in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

After a challenging first few rounds of the season, Vergne was absolutely on it all weekend at the Hyderabad Street Circuit and was a regular name towards the top of the timesheets. The Frenchman made it all the way to the final of the duels where he was unfortunately beaten by Mitch Evans; however, this ultimately didn’t matter as he quickly overtook the New Zealander.

Once in the lead of the race, Vergne controlled proceedings superbly and managed to stay out of all the carnage that was unfolding behind, whilst managing his energy to near perfection. The final lap of the race is without a doubt up there with one of Vergne’s greatest, with him having somehow completed the final lap with just one-percent energy remaining. His energy hit zero the moment he crossed the line, with him having timed it to complete perfection.

Incredibly, due to everything that unfolded behind him, Vergne’s victory saw him jump to third in the Drivers’ Championship, with the Frenchman now hoping that the team can carry their newfound “momentum” into the upcoming rounds to pursue a title bid.

“I am obviously very happy with this victory! It’s great for the team to get back to the top after three tough races, and to come back to everyone with a win after working so hard on our understanding of the car. Clearly, we have made good progress. We have to keep up this momentum but, to tell you the truth, I’m quite confident because I think we still have a lot of room for improvement. It’s up to us to keep working hard to get more results like this!”

Final result “could have been better” – Stoffel Vandoorne

For Stoffel Vandoorne it was a chaotic weekend, with the Belgian driver having made a right mess of qualifying. The reigning World Champion could only manage seventeenth, giving him a huge task ahead of the E-Prix.

In true Champion-style, though, he battled through the field remarkably and capitalised on all the incidents that took place. Despite having started towards the back, he crossed the line in sixth; however, he dropped to eighth after being awarded a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits, something that caught out several drivers all weekend.

Nevertheless, it marked an excellent comeback, with the Belgian driver having scored his first points since the season opener in Mexico City. Despite having fought through so much of the field, Vandoorne left India believing his result “could have been better”, with the team’s car certainly having pace, as proven by Vergne.

Vandoorne believes the strong results will come should the team improve their qualifying performance, with that seemingly being the key area that is letting him down.

“Eighth in the final standings, obviously it could have been better. In fact, we finished in 6th position, but the penalty for the limits of the track made us lose two places. All in all, we can speak of a good comeback from 17th place on the grid. We must nevertheless continue to progress because we lack regularity. Sometimes we are completely in on it, sometimes not so much.

“We have to work particularly hard on our qualifying practice because it would obviously make our life easier if we were better placed on the starting grid. In racing, we have proven since the start of the year that we have a good rhythm and that our energy management is good. But even if the car is performing well, it is difficult to aim for the podium starting from such a distance, especially since overtaking is more complicated this year.

“In any case, it’s a very good day for the team with this victory for JEV and, after the complicated start to the season, it’s really deserved for all those who work hard behind the scenes. We have taken important points, but there is no question of slackening our efforts!”

Credit: LAT Images courtesy of FIA Formula E