Monday, June 24, 2024

Jean-Éric Vergne admits DS Penske can’t make silly mistakes ‘to fight for the championship’

Two-time Formula E Champion Jean-Éric Vergne has admitted that DS Penske can’t afford to make mistakes like they did on Saturday at the Monaco E-Prix, after both of the team’s drivers were disqualified from qualifying.

It was a very mixed day for Vergne at the famous Circuit de Monaco, with the Frenchman having looked quick throughout Free Practice. There were strong hopes for a big result in qualifying for Vergne; however, it was announced after the first qualifying group that Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne had been disqualified from the session. It turned out that both drivers tyre pressures were too low, resulting in them starting from the back of the grid.

Vergne was certainly out of position in twenty-second on the grid; however, the veteran put on an emphatic overtaking display to make up fifteen places, resulting in him crossing the line in seventh. Given his sensational fight through the pack, there is no doubt that he had the pace for a rostrum, had he started the race from higher up. With Nick Cassidy having won the race, Vergne did lose substantial points in the Drivers’ Championship, with him now sitting thirty-four points behind the new leader.

Whilst he was delighted to have recovered so well, the Frenchman noted that the team “can’t afford to make this kind of mistake”, if they want to “fight for the championship this year”.

“We saved the day with that race! Obviously with starting last – especially in Monaco – it was always going to be difficult to score points, but I think we’ve managed a very good recovery and a very good race. It’s just a shame about the qualifying and the issue that we had. If we want to fight for the championship this year we can’t afford to make this kind of mistake. But, we learn, we move forward, and the car was good today so we keep pushing.”

“We maximised the race performance” – Stoffel Vandoorne

For Stoffel Vandoorne the qualifying disqualification simply summed up his title defence so far, with the Belgian having actually shown good pace ahead of qualifying. He was in the top five in both practice sessions and was a prime favourite to make the duels, only to be disqualified from the session.

Starting from twenty-first left him with a mountain to climb just like Vergne; however, like his team-mate he made excellent progress through the field. Vandoorne ultimately crossed the line in ninth to at least score some points, on a day which could’ve been significantly better for him.

Given the strange circumstances the team found themselves in, Vandoorne was content with having finished ninth, although, he did add that the disqualification from qualifying made “our lives quite difficult”.

“Difficult day for us, but it’s still good to get away with a couple of points. The day started quite well with some strong pace in the practice session. I felt quite confident in the car, and it felt like we had good pace. Then it all kind of when wrong in qualifying, where unfortunately both of our cars got disqualified with a tyre pressure issue.

“This made our lives quite hard; we were maybe not super competitive, but we had a good chance to be in the top ten, and it would have been a bit of an easier race. But we maximized the race performance and came back from the back of the grid to P9. Not everything was perfect with the attack modes, but to take home a couple of points when it was a tough day was good.”

Credit: Sam Bagnall courtesy of FIA Formula E