Nelson Piquet Jr says that his Long Beach Formula E victory was one of the most emotional of his career, as he emulated his father’s Formula 1 win there 35 years ago.
Piquet wore the red and white colours of Nelson Sr on his helmet yesterday, and took them to victory in his China Racing machine – just as his father had in his Brabham BT49 in 1980.
“This victory means a lot,” said Piquet Jr, who has won previously in GP2, NASCAR, A1GP and Formula 3.
“It’s my first Formula E race win and it’s where my father won his first Formula 1 race. This helmet (design) means a lot – I’m not going to give it to him now, I think I’m going to keep it and do a few more races in it!
“It’s hard to believe, everything worked out. I felt very comfortable and knew we were quick. We should have been on pole but had traffic.
“From the start, everything went right. I braked really late in the first corner – I had confidence in my brakes – and as soon as I got the lead, it was a matter of taking control and not making mistakes.”
Managing the energy
The mid-race car swap was critical for Piquet, as was his control of the pursuing Jean-Eric Vergne – another ex-F1 racer.
“I had to watch my battery temperatures and [energy] consumption; I just brought it home,” said Piquet. “I had to be as consistent as possible. With six laps to go, the team said ‘more coasting’ and I thought they said ‘no coasting’ – then they shouted ‘maximum coasting’ so I thought ‘holy shit!’”
He also elected not to use his fan boost: “The batteries were overheating a little bit and I didn’t want to push it.”
Asked if he spoke with his father about this race, Piquet said he’d been told to go to the Queen Mary, to take pictures and to stay there: “Things might have been different 35 years ago,” he quipped.