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Jean-Eric Vergne wins Autosport award to brighten difficult start to season

He may have endured a testing start to his defense of the Formula E championship, but Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne was given a reason to cheer at the Autosport Awards in London.

The Frenchman picked up the Moment of the Year award having become the first driver to successfully defend a Formula E title last season.

Vergne received the accolade a fortnight after gaining just four points from the opening two races of the season in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, where a steering issue had forced him to retire in the first race.

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But Sunday’s award gave the Techeetah driver a chance to reflect on his motorsport journey so far. The all-electric championship has given Vergne a platform to resurrect his career after failing to establish himself in Formula One.

“My dream was always to be successful in motorsport, to be recognized, and obviously Formula One didn’t go the way I wanted but sometimes bad things happen for a reason and sometimes it takes a long time to understand that reason,” Vergne said at the awards ceremony, which recognizes outstanding achievements from the past year in motorsport.

“To win the (Formula E) championship twice was a great achievement. I went through really difficult times, but I guess it made me a lot stronger, it made me appreciate the simple things in life.

“I got back in love with motorsport and winning races — also losing races, but it’s been a long journey, it’s been great, and I hope I’m just at the beginning.”

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Despite a disappointing start to the season, Vergne is confident that he can challenge for the title this year.

The next race takes place in Santiago, Chile, on January 18, where he was forced to retire last season.

“In Formula E not every weekend is perfect,” Vergne told CNN Supercharged ahead of the awards ceremony.

“Sometimes the little points count and last year I won the championship not scoring points in four races so it’s okay. It’s of course not comfortable but I have full confidence in my team and myself that we can turn things around.”

Lewis Hamilton won the International Racing Driver award for the seventh time at the Autosport Awards, while Alexander Albon claimed the Rookie of the Year award and Lando Norris the British Competition Driver award.

CNN

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