Rome E-Prix podium shows 'anything is possible' in 'unpredictable' Formula E - Stoffel Vandoorne
After taking a maiden Formula E podium at last weekend's Rome E-Prix, HWA Racelab's Stoffel Vandoorne has said that his top three finish in the Italian capital reflects the unpredictable nature of the championship, showing that "anything is possible".
In the Eternal City, Vandoorne saw the chequered flag for the first time this season, piloting his customer Venturi VFE05, HWA-branded car to third place to secure his first podium finish in the all-electric single seater series.
Starting from fourth on the grid after a wet Super Pole shootout, Vandoorne dispatched of third-placed starter Jose Maria Lopez in the opening seconds of the 45-minute + 1 lap affair to move into the podium positions.
With Andre Lotterer and Mitch Evans running ahead in first and second, the Belgian experienced a relatively lonely race, cruising to the chequered flag to secure a haul of 15 points for HWA.
Reflecting on the seventh race of the season, Vandoorne was buoyed by the result, stating that "anything is possible" in the fully-electric championship, with the 2018/19 campaign's unpredictable nature reflecting this:
"I’m extremely happy with the result," said Vandoorne. "We’ve had a really difficult start to the season and we haven’t always had good pace.
"Anything is possible in Formula E considering what’s been happening in the past races. It’s unpredictable and we’ve made progress race-after-race and we’ve improved our speed.
"We ticked-off a few boxes this weekend. It was a valuable learning for myself as well - to get to the flag, which I haven’t managed this year!"
While Vandoone finished on the podium, his HWA team-mate Gary Paffett was less fortunate, with the reigning DTM champion retiring on the second lap of the race after getting collected in a multi-car pileup which caused a red flag:
"That was very disappointing," he said. "Qualifying was tough. I did not really put together a good lap. As a result, I had to start from the middle of the pack and was then involved in a collision.
"My gut feeling is that the car was good in the unsettled conditions. The pace seemed pretty good on the first couple of laps, I was able to overtake a few drivers, and I felt very good in the car.
"However, I was then caught up in the aftermath of another driver's crash. López - I don't know what he did there. He completely missed the apex in a corner and then went straight into the wall.
"When you are right behind a car that drives into the wall, there is nothing you can do. I hit him and Jev [Jean-Eric Vergne] hit me. The front of the car was damaged and that was the end of the race for me. It was a real shame!"
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship's fifth season of competition will continue on April 27 with the Paris E-Prix.