Stoffel Vandoorne believes that the HWA Racelab team have taken “big steps forward” despite retiring from podium contention at the Hong Kong E-Prix.
In the wet qualifying conditions, the Belgian secured his – and HWA’s – first pole position in Formula E in only their fifth event since joining the grid.
His work was undone at the start, however, when he lost out to Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland at the start, before losing a further two positions to Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird and Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer.
Technical problems for Rowland promoted him back into the podium positions, before he encountered driveshaft issues and retired from the event.
Speaking after the race, Vandoorne said that he left the weekend “proud” despite the race frustrations.
“That was a very frustrating end to the weekend. I had an issue with the car, which unfortunately brought my race to a premature end,” said Vandoorne.
“I secured pole position in qualifying, which was the first for the team and my first pole in Formula E. That is something we can be proud of. We have once again taken big steps forward.
“We could do nothing about the issues in the race, which is a real shame. We can look ahead to the next race with our heads held high. We have shown what we are capable of.”
After a strong qualifying, HWA team-mate Gary Paffett started the race in fourth place, but gradually lost ground over the race to finish eight, scoring his first points of the season.
“P8 is a bit disappointing after starting from fourth. Our cars were not as strong on a dry track. We were not able to gain any experience in the dry here, which made it a tough race.
“However, we made it to the finish, I scored my first points in Formula E, and the team also picked up its first points. That is definitely a step forwards, even if we were hoping for more after qualifying. As such, I am generally very happy with this weekend.”
HWA Racelab move off the foot of the Teams’ Championship into ninth place, leapfrogging the NIO and Dragon Racing teams.