Newly-crowned Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne has dedicated his 2017/18 title to the late Jules Bianchi.
The 28-year-old Frenchman secured the title with a fifth-place finish in the first of two races held at the Brooklyn Street Circuit in New York this past weekend, and upon learning of his championship success he immediately paid tribute to the late Jules Bianchi, who died in 2015 from the injuries he suffered in a Formula 1 crash the previous year.
“This season is for my friend Jules,” said Vergne, who admitted that he and his Techeetah team did not know if he had secured the title ahead of contender Sam Bird at the end of the first race on Saturday.
“When I crossed the line, I honestly didn’t know I had won," said Vergne. "My engineer told me, ‘I guess we have done it’. So I said, ‘What do you mean?’ Then [Andre] Lotterer went past me and clapped, so I knew something was up."
He added, "When I found out, I was speechless. I have waited the whole season for this.
"I have no idea what it means to me to be champion," he admitted. "I need more time to take it all in! All I know is that it’s a good feeling but to know the full extent of winning the championship, I don’t know yet."
Vergne went on to win the final race of the season on Sunday, though his Techeetah team finished second on the constructors’ table behind Audi.