Sixth for Vergne was an encouraging start, with the Stellantis-powered cars firmly in the mix with the Jaguar and Porsche powered Andrettisand Jaguar TCS Racing I-TYPE 6 machines - last year's pacesetters.
“On the whole, I’m really satisfied with the level of performance we showed and it was clearly a good improvement compared to the start of last season," said JEV. "It’s a shame that a few details stopped me from doing better in qualifying, because I had a really good race pace.
"At the end of the race I was considerably quicker than Mitch Evans, but it was impossible to pass him as the grip was very limited off the racing line. Nonetheless, we gained four places by using the strategy and attack modes well and we had one of the most competitive cars out there in terms of race pace.
"It’s clear to see too that there’s a very good feeling within the team. That’s all really positive and it bodes well for the future. The goal in Diriyah will be to do better in qualifying, but with the hard work taking place within the team and the current dynamic, I’m feeling quite confident.”
JEV on 1,000-point milestone
Double points for DS
DS' solid start was compounded by Vandoorne's eighth-placed finish.
The Belgian, and Season 8 champion, was caught in the same train behind Evans' Jaguar. It's tough to pass at times in Mexico City, and both DS cars unbottled in Diriyah and beyond look to have more in the tank.
“For the first race of this new season, I didn’t think it was so bad," said Vandoorne. "There have been a few changes within the team, and from my point of view it was the first time that I had worked with my new engineer.
"The most important thing was to have a clean weekend without any major mistakes, and that’s what we did. The team placed two cars inside the points, which shows the progress made since last year. But what really makes me happy is to see the potential of the car and the team.
"It’s clear that we want to bring home better results than we did today, but we've got all the tools at our disposal to do that."