Jake Hughes believes his rookie campaign in Formula E went “very positively”, although he wishes he’d scored a “little bit more points”.

Hughes shot onto the scene at NEOM McLaren this season, with the British driver having adjusted to the all-electric series and the Gen3 machinery incredibly quickly. Right from pre-season testing, the Briton looked quick, something he demonstrated at the season-opener in Mexico City.

He remarkably qualified third on his Formula E debut and therefore made his first semi-final appearance, before finishing the first race of the 2022/23 season in fifth. He backed up his impressive Mexico performance by making back-to-back finals appearances at the Diriyah double-header.

Hughes was beaten to pole by Sébastian Buemi ahead of the first race in Saudi Arabia, only to then claim his maiden pole position ahead of the second race after defeating Mitch Evans. Unfortunately, he failed to convert either front row start into a podium, with him having finished eighth and fifth again across the two events.

Whilst he failed to claim a podium in the opening three races despite his strong starting positions, Hughes was quickly labelled as one of the strongest rookie drivers ever seen in Formula E. He went on to have some tricky events after Diriyah, with him having retired in Hyderabad following a truly bizarre accident.

Hughes bounced back from his strange crash in India by claiming a point in Cape Town, and then a further four points in São Paulo, where he finished eighth. Berlin followed the sport’s inaugural trip to Brazil, and was a double-header where Hughes and McLaren struggled for pace.

He crashed out of the first race after being caught up in an incident between Stoffel Vandoorne and Dan Ticktum, only to finish P18 in the second race in the German capital.

Monaco was without a doubt one of the highlights of Hughes’ rookie season, after defeating fellow rookie Sacha Fenestraz to a famous, yet bizarre, pole position. Hughes was awarded pole despite having exceeded track limits, due to Fenestraz having experienced an overuse of power.

Just like in Diriyah though, Hughes could only salvage fifth in the race. The rest of the season ended up being very disappointing for the Brit, mostly due to McLaren having slipped down the pecking order.

He went on to score just a point in the Jakarta double-header, before scoring his final point of the season in the penultimate race of the campaign in London. Hughes was on track for a top 10 finish in the Drivers’ Championship, only to fall to 12th in the final three races of the year.

McLaren’s weak efficiency arguably held Hughes back somewhat in the second half of the season, with the driver having clearly possessed the pace to be amongst the frontrunners. Two pole positions and three top-five finishes still mark a very good start to life in Formula E, which he admits is “above average” for a rookie in the series.

He does think more points could’ve been scored though, after recognising that he had boasted “good pace throughout the season”.

“Overall, very positively,” Hughes told Motorsport Week, when asked to reflect on his rookie campaign.

“It’s one of those things, I think, if you’d asked me before the season, would you be flirting and if not, hopefully, finishing in the top 10 in the Drivers’ Championship, two pole positions, fighting for podiums.

“I think I’d probably say that’s reasonable and probably above average for what a rookie achieves. I think, however, after how the season started, obviously, sort of qualifying right at the front and getting a couple of pole positions, I think I would have liked to add a little bit more points than I’ve had, I think it’s fair to say.

“I think we’ve had good pace throughout the season, aside from just Berlin, and for various reasons, we just haven’t managed to put all the points on the board that I think we could have achieved.

“That’s not to say that we’d been fighting the Jags and the Porsches for the championship and whatnot, but I think we could have been a bit higher up in the championship, like 8th or 9th.”

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