Vandoorne rues missing possible podium in Jakarta E-Prix

Mercedes EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne in the inaugural ABB FIA Formula E world championship E-Prix in Jakarta.
© LAT

Former McLaren F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne continues to hold on to the top spot in the current ABB FIA Formula E world championship, despite only managing fifth place in this weekend's inaugural Jakarta E-Prix.

Vandoorne took the lead in the standings after winning in Monaco at the end of April, but this week his points advantage was more than halved with two-time former champion Jean-Eric Vergne now just five points behind.

"It wasn't a perfect race for us today, but P5 kind of limited the damage," said the Belgian racer after the end of Saturday's race.

"We started the E-Prix from P7 and the race didn't always go the way we would have liked," he explained. "I think our pace was basically solid but unfortunately I missed the Attack Mode activation zone once.

"I dropped back a bit as a result and lost the connection with the leading group. But for that, I could have been fighting for a place on the podium and then it would have been a very different race, but that's just how it is."

Vandoorne's Mercedes-EQ team mate, reigning Formula E champion Nyck de Vries, retired during the race after suffering contact with Porsche's Andre Lotterer that resulted in a puncture.

"There were two situations that dropped me down the field," he said. "In the end, I decided to try an overtaking manoeuvre on Andrรฉ and he hit my left rear tyre, causing serious tyre damage, so there was no point in continuing."

Mercedes EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne in the inaugural ABB FIA Formula E world championship E-Prix in Jakarta.

© LAT

De Vries is now sixth in the drivers standings with seven races remaining in the season. This weekend's tight finish has compacted the drivers at the top, with just 12 points covering Vandoorne, Vergne, Edoardo Mortara and Saturday race winner Mitch Evans.

"I think hats off to Mitch and Jaguar," Vergne told the official Formula E website after the race. "They were there were simply faster today so I couldn't quite grab it."

"It was really tight at the end with Vergne," said Evans. "I thought I was going to pull away, but my tyres started going off as soon as I got past him. I was under a bit of heat but I got the job done.

"This race throws everything at you physically and technically with the car tyres, battery temp and energy management," he added. "To come out on top like that is amazing. We're all very tired after that one - it was a lot to manage but the team guided me really well and it feels amazing."

ames Barclay, Team Director, Jaguar TCS Racing Podium during the Jakarta ePrix at Jakarta Street Circuit on Saturday June 04, 2022 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

© LAT Images

Jaguar team boss James Barclay praised the New Zealander's grace under fire. "Mitch has put a huge amount of work into every element of his driving and as a team as well. He's becoming calmer as success develops.

"He's just very, very calm in his approach now, and so is the team. Now we are starting to be really able to fight for the championship, it's about being kind of calm in those moments of real pressure."

Venturi's Mortara came close to stealing second at the line but narrowly failed to pull it off in time.

"We had an intelligent race, which was very difficult with the temperatures being so hot and humid," the Swiss driver said. "To manage the tyres and the battery was not easy today, but we managed it.

"At the end of the race I could see that they were fighting in the front. I was part of the fight and I was hoping for some kind of move from Vergne to be able to gain some places, but unfortunately it didn't come.

"Still, I'm extremely happy with another podium. That's was the plan. We crossed the line with 0% energy," he added. "I could see that I had a little bit more energy reserved than Mitch, but I could not pass.

"If you exceed a certain number, the power goes down, so the goal is actually to get that down to the line - like we did!"

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