Jean-Eric Vergne claimed a lights-to-flag win at the Monaco E-Prix that meant he became Formula E's first repeat winner of the 2018/19 season.
Just as red lights went out, Mahindra's Pascal Wehrlein tried to catch and overtake poleman Jean Eric Vergne. Close to Sainte Devote, the iconic and challenging Monaco corner, the German was close to pass the Frenchman, but Vergne was able to continue with his lead.
Andre Lotterer was the first driver to go through the Attack Mode activation zone, just before the Tabac corner in the port. The DS Techeetah driver did not have a very lucky qualifying session, finishing last in the timings, but later moving up some positions when penalties were applied to other drivers.
A battle for P4 took place between Massa and Buemi, with the Swiss using the Attack Mode in order to pass the Brazilian, but the Venturi driver being strong enough to defend his position.
Running wide cost Wehrlein his P2 spot, dropping to fourth overall, and missing out on his possibility to overtake race leader Jean Eric Vergne, as he was close to pass him before his mistake.
Sims quickly started to battle Buemi for a spot within the Top 5. But it wasn’t just the Swiss fighting against the Brit, as Jaguar Racing’s Alex Lynn was also pushing hard to gain the spot himself.
A brilliant overtake close to the chicane by Da Costa over Lynn, granted the Portuguese the P7 spot. Da Costa went on to pass his teammate Alexander Sims, and positioned himself in P6, right behind Sebastien Buemi. The action and battles between the Swiss’ Nissan and the two BMW i Andretti Motorsports, was an exciting one.
Despite having a quick Rowland behind him, Vergne was able to extend his lead, to comfortably drive towards his second victory of the season.
In the midfield, Di Grassi could gain a spot in the Top 10 after overtaking HWA’s Stoffel Vandoorne. Sam Bird was also on a good pace, as he was able to pass Lynn and Vandoorne to gain some places, and remain in P8.
As Race Control announced the FanBoost winners, both Buemi and Da Costa were awarded the extra power, which fuelled the battle both drivers had going on for the P5 spot.
Damage on Maximilian Guenther’s car caused the German to retire from the race, and Race Control deployed Full Course Yellow, obliging all drivers to go at 50 kilometres per hour. Alex Lynn also suffered damage on his car, with his front wing flying across the track, and causing him to lose some places.
Drama kicked off with fifteen minutes to go, as Lucas di Grassi’s car slowed down on a straight. Turvey suffered from a flat tire, taking his car to the pits. A small contact between Buemi and da Costa generated some debris on the track, but this did not affect the performance of any of the drivers, as they remained in their positions.
Sam Bird got pass da Costa minutes later, and his Attack Mode activation had to do with this overtake.
Mitch Evans was another driver who took some advantage. After his penalty in qualifying, he dropped several places, but by the end of the race, the Kiwi driver was running in the point-scoring positions.
Something similar happened to Robin Frijns. The Dutchman did not have the easiest of qualifying sessions, but in the last laps of the race, was able to move up to P10, challenging Sims, who was not as strong at that moment of the race, as he was at the start.
In the fully-electric championship, as in any other racing series, Race Control watches every single move, and Daniel Abt, who did not have a good time when driving in the Principality, was being investigated by causing a collision.
Tension raised in the last minutes, as the Top 3 drivers –Vergne, Rowland, and Massa, activated Attack Mode at the same time. Just seconds later, Pascal Wehrlein, in P4, also activated it, joining the fight for a good finishing spot.
With less than three minutes to go, Frijns and Sims had an incident. The Dutchman tried to overtake the Brit in the inside when approaching Sainte Devote, but did not have the space. By hitting both Sims’ car and the wall, Frijns lost some parts of his car, including his front wing, and ultimately had to have his car retired from the race by the marshalls.
As the chequered flag was waved, Jean Eric Vergne took victory, becoming the first driver to win twice this season. Rowland finished just behind him, and Massa followed suit.
The clean start of the race had little to do with a rather eventful ending, as Sam Bird, who was running within the point-scoring positions, crashed against the wall, and lost all possibilities to score points. An unfortunate weekend for Envision Virgin Racing as none of the cars could finish.
Abt, who was able to gain important places by the end of the race, remained under investigation by Race Control, so until the stewards made a decision, his ending position would not be secured.
A performance to highlight was Lotterer’s, as he started from the bottom of the grid, and was able to take his car to the point-scoring places.
Vergne proved once again why he is one of the series’ champions, and will look to continue with his good performances in the next race in Berlin.