Hughes: 'It's a case of who suffers least' in Jakarta heat

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Hughes: 'It's a case of who suffers least' in Jakarta heat

Jake Hughes feels he and NEOM McLaren are on song barring a disappointing Berlin, and the Brit is hoping to extend a run of points finishes and aim for silverware as his rookie campaign heads towards its climax.

Hughes Jakarta on track McLaren

A Hyderabad DNF and non-score in the Berlin double-header were the exception not the rule to Hughes' season, he feels. The rookie has impressed in both qualifying and race trim and is aiming to convert in the latter having nailed the former on more than one occasion in his opening Formula E campaign - including last time out in Monaco, where he inherited a second Julius Baer Pole Position.

"We left Berlin feeling a bit sorry for ourselves after the two rounds but when you look at our season so far in terms of our race pace, that weekend was actually the outlier in a negative sense," said the 29-year-old. "The rest of the season was more like Monaco so from my side, I was looking at Berlin being the odd one out for us. The pace has been strong everywhere aside from there, and that trend continued in Monaco – hopefully it does this weekend, too.

"Race pace is a bit more of a challenge for us so qualifying is always very important. We all want to win and we’ve been able to do that in a sense in qualifying but we’d like to do it in the race before the end of the season. Whether that’s realistic or not, we’re waiting to see but the result is a consequence of your process and preparation.  So, the fact we’ve been able to get three or four top fives this year is encouraging and if we keep that up and things fall our way, then hopefully we’ll get a podium."

Hughes pre Jakarta

The Jakarta challenge

Heat, humidity and a string of constant corners mean the Ancol Beach circuit is a real test in every sense. Hughes says there's no time to look down at the dash, and managing energy becomes even more difficult than it ordinarily is amid a 22-strong field often split by a little over a second.

"The conditions are the same for everybody and we have to be prepared for every eventuality. The track is really good to drive and you don’t really have much of a chance to look down at your dash – it’s turn after turn. It’s a big challenge in terms of communicating with the team and gauging how things are going on energy but that’s also the challenge of Formula E generally.

"The car tells you when to lift but for the whole race, you’re not even following it because everyone else is doing a different strategy and that impacts how you have to react in the moment – that becomes crucial and you have to react in an instant and it can feel like you’re freestyling.

"I’ve spent three of four years now in the sim and you don’t race anybody there. I felt like I knew everything about Formula E based on that but when you get on-track it’s almost nothing like the simulator.

Prep is all important, and Hughes has been doing his best to heat things up - not always easy for any driver based in the UK!

"In the lead up to the race there’s only so much you can do. I spent a lot of time in the sauna to get some heat exposure and I’ve been cycling a lot to get the heart rate down. It’s so different when you get here, though and you can only really acclimatize by being here. It’s a question of who suffers the least rather than who is feeling comfortable."