Stoffel Vandoorne and Mercedes-EQ were in recovery mode in Marrakesh, overcoming a difficult qualifying session that left the Belgian stranded down in 20th but an impressive run from the back saw the championship contenders collect some vital points in eighth.
After struggling with braking all morning and into the hotly contested knockout qualifying, Vandoorne was immediately eliminated from the group stage which left him languishing at the back of the grid. Undeterred, the Belgian mounted a comeback scything his way through making 11 pure overtakes to keep his championship hopes alive in Season 8.
Speaking after the race, a relieved Vandoorne commented: "I said before the race I would have been happy with with scoring a couple of points and that's exactly what we did."
"So eighth is the best possible outcome after starting 20th. It's such a close championship and we can't leave any points on the table, so I'm actually a bit disappointed because we've been dealing with with some brake problems the whole weekend, and we didn't manage to solve it for qualifying and that just really put us on the back-foot."
"I think if we'd have started inside the top, then we would have had a much nicer and better race, but it's not always easy going and I think on days like today when when they start difficult, it was a good recovery."
With Mortara taking his third victory of the season in Marrakesh and Vandoorne's other title rivals all finishing ahead of him, the Mercedes driver relinquished his lead in the Drivers' standings and dropped down to third in the order but with the top four all separated by just 15 points, it's still very tight at the top.
"Definitely in my case, this race was about damage limitation," started Vandoorne. "We're still in the championship hunt but it's not in my mind right now.
"I just need to keep doing a good job every weekend. I feel like I'm doing some really good races - I've had some struggles in qualifying and with the race this weekend. But when we get on top of that, we'll be up there and it will be a different story."