Hughes sets expectations for McLaren’s mega Sunday with maiden podium

Jake Hughes joked that he’s put his McLaren teammates under more pressure to perform on Sunday after taking pole and a podium in the second race of the Shanghai E-Prix doubleheader.

As well as Formula E, McLaren is racing in Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 later today, with Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris starting second and fourth on the grid in the principality, and Alexander Rossi and Kyle Larson leading the charge from fourth and fifth on the grid at Indy.

Expectations are high across both of the combustion programs, and Hughes laid down a benchmark by taking a long-awaited first Formula E podium.


“I’ve put the pressure on them a little bit,” he quipped. “I think we’ve got a good chance of seeing one, if not both of them on the podium there (in Monaco), and then the Indy 500, Kyle (Larson) was impressive for sure. We’ll make sure we watch both races later on.”

McLaren is racing in three series across three continents on Sunday, with Formula E in Shanghai kicking things off. Alastair Staley/Motorsport Images

Hughes’ podium came after nearly two years racing in the all-electric category with McLaren, and follows Sam Bird taking the team’s first win at Sao Paulo in March. With a previous best finish of eighth at high-consumption tracks (at the first Misano race), Hughes said he emulated factory Nissan driver Oliver Rowland, who’s had three podiums, including a win, from four starts at the comparable Misano and Berlin tracks earlier this season.

“It’s about time, isn’t it?” he said. “I think I approached the race quite differently today. I think it’s fair to say these pack races haven’t been kind to me, or I haven’t helped the situation as well, and I think I took a leaf a little bit out of Oli’s book today and just wanted to make sure I stayed near the front. That meant being quite aggressive and trying to make some moves and I think it paid off.

“It’s amazing how much easier the race felt, driving like I did today, so hopefully it’s something we can continue.”

As well as the change of approach, plus the weight of McLaren’s big weekend, a return to a previous stomping ground gave Hughes another shot in the arm.

“China’s always been kind to me,” he said. “I raced here twice in Asian Formula 3 and I won each race I did there. And I’ve always gone well in Macau, so racing in this part of the world has always been pretty kind to me.”

Story originally appeared on Racer