"Overcut against Jake worked out perfectly" - Formula E winner Max Günther explains "overwhelming" 1st Maserati victory in Jakarta
Never has a Formula E driver filled as many headlines in one weekend as Maximilian Günther did at the 2023 Jakarta E-Prix. The German won six out of seven sessions, took two pole positions, a third place and finally the race win on Sunday. He showed his emotions after having taken the first Maserati victory in single-seater racing since 1957 and explained the reasons for his dominance.
On July 10, 2021 in New York City, the German anthem sounded for the last time for the then BMW driver Max Günther. A frustrating season with Nissan and an equally difficult early phase with Maserati followed. After his 3rd place in Berlin a few weeks ago, Günther stepped it up even more in Jakarta. With a dominance that has probably never been seen before in a double-header, he contested the sessions and took the first victory for Maserati MSG Racing on Sunday. At the same time, it was the first success for the Italian sports car brand in a single-seater category since Juan Manuel Fangio 65 years ago.
"I am incredibly proud to have claimed the first Maserati victory in Formula E. I will enjoy this moment extremely," Günther told 'ProSieben' shortly after the race. In the TV world signal, he elaborates: "We've made great progress recently - the momentum turned a few races ago. To win here and take two pole positions is just fantastic. Yesterday was already great with the podium, now my first win here in Jakarta - that's just outstanding. I'm overwhelmed by this victory."
Günther already set the best lap time in the 1st Free Practice, as well as in the 2nd and 3rd Free Practice. In both qualifying sessions, he prevailed in the group stage as well as in all six duels - twice also competing confidently against his teammate Edo Mortara. "I felt really good from FP1 onwards," confirmed the 25-year-old, who had also almost naturally set the Jakarta lap record in FP3 (1:07.552 minutes)
"Always made the right decisions this weekend"
"Our package worked great here, so the main thing was to execute the weekend perfectly and continue to finetune in the right direction. Crucial were all the little details we worked on together with the whole team. We always made the right decisions this weekend."
Although Günther finished Sunday with a comfortable 2.8-second lead over Jake Dennis, it was far from an easy E-Prix, he explains, "It was really hard work. The race today was even more complex in terms of energy. We were able to save energy quite well compared to the people around us. You had to be very tactical and then choose the right time to attack. We did that and also used the Attack Modes well."
So his second Attack Mode activation on lap 16 was to become the race-deciding moment: Dennis had taken his Attack Mode one lap earlier and had fallen behind Mitch Evans as a result. There he lost important time. Günther saw his chance, attacked for one lap and then drove through the Attack Zone too - and actually got back on the track ahead of Dennis.
"From that point on, it was only important to stay in front of Jake"
"I did the overcut against Jake, and it worked out perfectly," Günther described. "Then I had Mitch in front of me, which was pretty ideal because he still had one Attack Mode to take. So from that point on, it was just important to stay in front of Jake and defend." Günther succeeded in this. "The race went perfectly, the pace was really good. Today was our day."
After being the only non-ABT driver to fail to score points in the first six rounds of the 2023 season and taking heavy criticism, Günther has most recently worked his way up to seventh place in the Formula E drivers' championship within only five races. In theory, he could still win the title, but he is still 64 points behind championship leader Pascal Wehrlein. Nevertheless, the German can still make good progress in the five races still to come.
The necessary self-confidence for a final offensive in the 2023 season is definitely there. "Of course. But in Formula E you always have to keep your feet on the ground. Everything can change so quickly," Günther says. "There will always be tracks that suit us more and those that suit us less. I'm just enjoying the moment here now."