Jean-Eric Vergne hails Bern E-Prix victory after 'mental exhaustion' of Le Mans defeat
Jean-Eric Vergne has hailed his victory at the inaugural Bern E-Prix, winning the final European race of the 2018/19 Formula E season after a tough week following the Frenchman's defeat the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
At Le Mans, Vergne contested the LMP2 class with G-Drive Racing, remaining as a front-runner throughout the race until a starter motor replacement removed him from contention for victory, 12 months on following the team's disqualification from its 2018 class-winning drive.
Heading to Switzerland, one week after his Le Mans disappointment, Vergne secured his third win of Season 5 in Bern, leading from lights to flag while fending off rain and a constant threat from Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans who claimed second.
"It’s been a really tough week," said Vergne who continues to lead the Formula E Drivers' Championship.
"After the loss of Le Mans and the mental exhaustion this week I was really, really tired. [I was in] the simulator at 9 o’clock on Monday after the race in Le Mans. It’s been very tough.
"I couldn’t sleep very well at night so I arrived [in Bern] as a bit of a zombie but nevertheless, I think the team helped me massively to do a good job. They gave me a fantastic car and the preparation beforehand.
"The car that they gave me was amazing, especially in qualifying. In the race, I was definitely slower than Mitch [Evans]. He was really on it. I was not that fast.
"I had a lot of understeer. I don’t really know why but on the other hand I was not taking massive risks either, especially in the last laps when the rain came.
"I could not believe it," he continued. "I had my engineer telling me that rain is coming I got a drop on my visor and the marshalls with the flags.
"It was tough but I took a lot of caution. I would rather finish second or even third than in the wall for the championship so that’s why I was a bit slow but here I am.”
With Vergne also taking pole position in Bern, the reigning Formula E champion secured a total of 28 points as the Frenchman attempts to become the series' first double champion with the hope of making history.
Coming to a close on the weekend of July 13 and 14 with a double-header round in New York City, 58 points are still on offer this season, with eight drivers still standing a mathematical chance of taking the title.
At the top of the table, Vergne holds a 32 point advantage over Audi's Lucas di Grassi while Evans, who won in Rome, sits in third, launching his championship hopes by finishing on the podium in Bern.