Jean-Eric Vergne left Friday’s Diriyah E-Prix in a buoyant mood despite admitting that his DS Penske didn’t have the pace to win the race in Saudi Arabia. 

The Frenchman started the race from pole position but lost the lead of the race during the Attack Mode phase that took place in the first ten laps.

The double Formula E Champion lost out to Jake Dennis in the second phase of Attack Mode and found himself in second behind the reigning World Champion.

Vergne was unable to keep up with Dennis throughout the remainder of the race but was still in high spirits at the chequered flag.

“Normally, I would be disappointed to start a race on pole and not win,” stated Vergne. “But I am happy with second. We didn’t have the pace today. If you look at the pace of Jake and the Jaguars, we did well to finish in second, so it was not an easy race for us at all. 

“Also, I’m very happy with the improvements we have made with the team and the car. We have made a good step forward, and we are now in a position to be able to fight Porsche and Jaguar.

“Even though we haven’t won, it is much better than last season. We are not finishing like 12th and 18th anymore. We have come a long way and I am proud of that, but we still have work to do, we are going to keep pushing and I am sure we still have more pace to come.” 

Despite losing the lead in the Attack Mode phase of the race, Vergne didn’t feel that his strategy cost him a chance of winning. Instead, he felt that he would never have had the pace to stay out in front for the whole race.

“I was happy with our strategy. I think it worked, it was just a question of pure pace. I don’t think if we had done anything else we would have won, so I’m happy with second, but we have a lot of work to do if we want to win the race. 

Vergne was worried that the lack of energy saving in the race today would make tomorrow’s race harder, as he felt today’s race was flat out.

“It was flat-out racing today until everyone took their Attack Modes. I probably overconsumed a bit to stay out front. When Jake went in front he could go full throttle and he had the pace to take the second Attack Mode and not be threatened again in the race.”