Antonio Felix da Costa clinched the win at the Monaco E-Prix in the last lap. In a race no short of drama, the Portuguese was resilient and took every advantage he had to fight for the win.
Da Costa had a flying Super Pole lap that put him in pole position ahead of the race. Though it was not a lights-to-flag win for the Portuguese, he was never too far from the front and took every advantage he saw to go back to the top of the standings and conquer victory.
This is why, in a dramatic end of the race, he saw a chance to pass then-leader Mitch Evans and went ahead, seeing the chequered flag from the P1. It was not easy in a tight circuit as Monaco and with such competitive rivals like Robin Frijns and Evans, but the reigning champion showed with his performance why he is always one to keep an eye on.
Formula E is never short of drama, and seconds after the start of the race, the drama was already on. As drivers were exiting the hairpin, Pascal Wehrlein crashed into Alexander Sims, driving over the Brit’s car. The Mahindra driver had to divert back to the pits.
Da Costa had a clean race start but Frijns was closely coming behind. The Dutchman passed the Portuguese, moving up to the front. The battle was on as the reigning champion would not give up the fight for the lead so easily.
Close racing scenes took place at the Nouvelle Chicane several minutes into the race, as Evans and Jean-Eric Vergne drove side to side to gain the position while cutting the chicane. Da Costa took advantage and drove through the chicane to overtake both cars.
As drivers went for their Attack Modes, the lead was switched between Frijns and da Costa. Maximilian Guenther was not far behind, as the German had a good pace in the first part of the race, allowing him to move up several places.
The fight for the lead was continuous during the race. This meant that drivers behind Frijns and da Costa would look to benefit from any mistake those two made. Such was the case with Evans, who moved up to the lead of the race overtaking in a few turns both the Dutchman and the Portuguese.
The first Safety Car came out as Rene Rast’s car stopped close to Sainte Devote, meaning that all gaps would be shortened and at the restart, we would see several overtakes and close battles.
With six minutes and a lap to go, the race was restarted. During the Safety Car period, the gap between Evans and da Costa obviously shortened, which meant that the Portuguese would charge up to overtake the Kiwi.
Vergne was one of the very few drivers to have a remaining Attack Mode when the race was restarted, so we went to get his, attempting to have a last-minute move to gain significant places thanks to his advantage. The Frenchman, who was running in eighth position, moved up four places because of his Attack Mode strategy.
Yellow flags were deployed in the last minutes of the race as Nyck de Vries’ car stopped at the exit of the Nouvelle Chicane. However, his car was restarted in the last seconds of the race. As mentioned before, da Costa saw his chance and overtook Evans. The Kiwi’s battery was at less than 1%, and lost his second-position to Frijns, finishing in third place, while being under investigation by Race Control.
As Frijns finished in second place, he climbed up to the lead of the championship, displacing de Vries, who had a race to forget. Formula E now crosses the pond for its race in Puebla, Mexico.