Jean-Eric Vergne described the Marrakesh ePrix weekend as the most difficult of his Formula E career as he was forced to spend hours in hospital after being tested for the Coronavirus.
Prior to the Friday practice session the reigning champion spent three days in bed with a high temperature and said he didn’t have enough strength to lift a bottle of water.
He was admitted to hospital as a result and spent ten hours in the same room after he underwent tests, missing free practice one as a result.
He told the Sun newspaper, “I have spent the last three days in bed with fever and a 40 degree temperature. Not able to move, I didn’t have strength to pour a bottle of water.
“And yesterday I went to the hospital, I thought it was to fix me but actually it was to be tested for coronavirus. I didn’t think I had it, but you never know.
“Nevertheless, I get stuck in all day thinking they will treat me so I can do practice, but actually it was a test for Coronavirus. So I was in quarantine in a hospital in Marrakesh which you do not want to go to.
“And I could not get out of my room for ten hours. I was going crazy. I think there is still marks on the walls.”
But despite missing out on practice Vergne was able to qualify in eleventh, and then made remarkable progress through the field to run as high as second.
Although he lost a place on the final lap, it marked the Frenchman’s best finish of the season and elevated him to eighth in the driver’s standings.
The finish was made all the more remarkable as he said that he fainted after getting out of the car at the end of the race.
“This was definitely my most difficult weekend in Formula E,” Vergne said. “Nevertheless, the team did a very good job preparing the car, so I felt like I was in a good place when I jumped in this morning after missing FP1 yesterday.
“I did a good qualifying lap despite the circumstances, only three tenths off and in the race, I just went for it.
“At some point I asked my engineer about my position and I couldn’t believe I was up in P4 by then, the race just flew by and it’s so good to finally be back on the podium but now I will need some time to recover before the next race.
“I got out of the car today and fainted.”