Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein believes he “just made it” to the race win in the first Diriyah E-Prix of the weekend, and extending the race would have caused problems for him.
Wehrlein held off championship leader Jake Dennis to take his second career Formula E victory.
“With Jake catching up in the end, he had a bit more energy left because I used quite a lot behind Sam [Bird],” Wehrlein said.
“Basically every lap at the end was like a qualifying lap, trying to maximize efficiency and cornering speeds. I just made it. I think a couple more laps and it would have been very interesting.”
Wehrlein praised the strategy and efficiency of his Porsche Formula E car. Qualifying put him ninth on the grid for the second race of the 2022-23 season, but a series of strong overtakes allowed him to challenge long-time race leader Sam Bird.
“The race was just amazing,” he said. “I knew that we had a good race car, but qualifying didn’t go to plan. P9, not so bad but also not that good.
“I knew that we could make up positions, but I could never imagine that we would win the race.
“Strategy wise, it was perfect. The car felt amazing. When I was behind cars, I could save quite a bit of energy and then use it for overtakes. Strategy, with Attack Mode and so on, worked perfectly…
“We were using the energy at the right time. Like I said, I stayed for quite a long time in the slipstream, always trying to be quite close, save a bit of energy and then when I need to, invest.
“In the end with Sam, it took a bit longer. I think he did a very good job in defending his position and I knew that I still had one Attack Mode to do. So I knew that even if I passed him, I needed to build a gap otherwise I would be again behind him.”
Wehrlein executed the strategy perfectly.
Porsche has been the manufacturer to beat so far this season, and Wehrlein praised his team’s drive and effort so far.
“I know that everyone in the team is working so hard and especially the last couple of months. We have high ambitions. We want to win. We want to win the championship and I know how much effort is going into that project.
“I’m just thankful to everyone here at the track and in the factory. And with Jake again, 1-2 [for the manufacturer], it just shows how much we grow as a team.”