Vergne: “It’s good to be back on the podium”
Jean-Eric Vergne didn’t know whether to justify the grin on his face in parc ferme on a podium finish or just for completing the race distance. The Andretti driver has suffered some misfortune since his Formula E debut in Punta del Este, none more so than in that race where a suspension issue in the closing laps caused him to retire in a battle for the lead and losing a certain top-three position.
Vergne lined-up fifth alongside his team-mate Scott Speed who had undoubtedly stolen some of the spotlight in the Andretti team following his second place finish in Miami. He desperately needed a smooth race on the notoriously bumpy Long Beach circuit.
The Frenchman was embroiled in a race-long battle with both Audi Sport ABT drivers and e.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi lurking in the background ready to pounce on any slip-up in the fight for the final podium spots.
Vergne faced various technical gremlins with temperature related issues in Buenos Aires and Miami, so felt relieved to finally taste the champagne for the first time in four years.
He said: “It’s good, it’s been four years since I stood on the podium. In my three years with Toro Rosso in Formula 1 it wasn’t possible so I’m really happy to be here. Maybe I should have been here earlier but that’s racing and you never know what can happen and I’ve been quite unfortunate in the past three races.”
The result was all the more impressive after Vergne’s heavy crash in the second practice session. Vergne swept round the outside of Lucas di Grassi and ran wide smashing into the wall on the outside of Turn 5.
Vergne continued: “This result is good points for the team, they are pushing hard in the championship and the podium is always the objective. It was a difficult start to the day with me crashing heavily in practice but I have to say thanks to the guys for fixing it and I hope this podium serves as an apology!”