Formula E: Jean-Eric Vergne shows stunning recovery in Monaco, wins 1st Driver of Progress Award
Jean-Eric Vergne made an impressive recovery at the Monaco E-Prix. From last place on the grid, the DS Penske driver made it all the way to seventh place, which Formula E rewarded with a new award. Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne also made it into the points. The team management is proud of its two drivers.
Formula E once again produced a good show for the 20,000 fans at the Monaco E-Prix last weekend: 116 overtakes were executed in total. Jean-Eric Vergne had a large share of this. The Frenchman made up 15 positions from last place on the grid and, in seventh place, scored six important championship points in the end.
In terms of pace, things had looked good for DS Penske from the start. The team - like Stellantis sister Maserati MSG - was among the front runners in free practice. In qualifying, however, DS made a momentous mistake: Because of too low tire pressures, the stewards deleted the lap times of Vergne and Vandoorne in the group stage, which meant the last row of the grid for both of them.
Despite this bitter setback, both drivers fought their way steadily forward with good pace and considered driving until they reached the points. Vergne gained 15 places in the process and thus also the first "ABB Driver of Progress Award". The new award, introduced ahead of the Monaco weekend, honors the driver with the most positions gained in a race.
"We definitely saved the day by scoring points for seventh place after starting last on the grid. All the more so as we know that finishing in the top 10 in Monaco is difficult enough in the normal order of things," said Vergne with a certain pride of his fightback.
"It's a real shame we got unlucky in qualifying; our aim is to fight for the title so we need to avoid this sort of thing happening," he puts the brakes on the euphoria. "Having said that, the car was very competitive today. I think we handled the race well. We need to stay positive and we will keep giving it everything all the way to the end."
"Made up a total of 27 places - an incredible showing!"
The equally good performance of Stoffel Vandoorne, who had started one place ahead of Vergne, was almost lost in the shadow of the JEV show. "It wasn't entirely perfect with the Attack Mode, but we can feel satisfied under the circumstances," explained the Belgian. "Unfortunately, both our DS E-Tense FE23 cars had to start from the back row of the grid. That made our job harder during the race."
"But luckily we could get back into the top 10 by maximizing our level of performance to finish ninth. It was a difficult day for us, but it ended pretty well as we managed to score some important championship points," Vandoorne said.
The senior management at DS Penske is also proud of Vergne and Vandoorne: "Our drivers delivered a stunning fightback," said DS Performance director Eugenio Franzetti. "On a track that is traditionally hard to overtake on, both our champions got the maximum performance out of the DS E-Tense FE23. In total, they made up 27 places between them: 15 for JEV and 12 for Stoffel. An incredible showing!"
In the Formula E Team World Championship, DS Penske nevertheless slipped to fifth place behind Andretti. The Franco-American team is already 67 points behind the top team Envision Racing. If DS Penske still wants to fight for the title, they will have to eliminate mistakes like in Monaco and collect plenty of points at the next E-Prix in Jakarta (June 3 and 4). Vergne proved last year that the circuit suits him: With a gap of only 7.33 tenths of a second, he narrowly missed out on victory in second place.