Formula E: Vergne reigns supreme in Monaco

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DS Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne leads the way during the 2019 Monaco ePrix. Image sourced from @TotalRacingFR via Twitter.

With eight winners from the first eight races, it was anyone’s guess who would be victorious in the glitzy streets of Monaco.

Jean-Eric Vergne started on pole, after Oliver Rowland took his three-place grid penalty from the Paris E-Prix.

The Frenchman who went on to win, his second of the season, and lead the championship standings with 87 points.

In an incredible display of dominance, Vergne pulled away at the start. Despite initial pressure of the Mahindra of Pascal Wehrlein, he lead until the chequered flag.

Despite utilising a shorter version of the famous F1 circuit, it produced overtakes galore, with the midfield shuffling almost constantly.

The order at the front, however, remained the same until Lap 9, when Wehrlein locked up at St Devote.

This dropped the German to fourth behind Rowland and Felipe Massa, who had earlier defended hard against Monaco veteran Sebastien Buemi.

From then on, the top 3 remained unchanged, with Massa taking his maiden podium.

“I’ve never won this one before so I’m happy,” said Vergne, speaking after the race.

“It’s been a difficult season, lots of ups and downs but these kind of wins make it all worth it.”

Despite his early challenge on Massa, Buemi finished down in fifth, several seconds adrift of Wehrlein.

Disaster for Da Costa

Antonio Felix da Costa came home sixth for BMW, after team-mate Alexander Sims moved aside for him on Lap 20.

However, he was later excluded from the results for running a higher engine mode than allowed.

Da Costa says that this was an accident, rather than anything malicious:

“I was going round the corner and Evans braked super late, hit me, forced me off the track and – when he hit me – I lost the steering wheel and hit the power rotary and went to the 225 mode,” Da Costa stated.

I had it for a full lap, until the guys saw it and I went back to the 200kW mode”.

Antonio Felix da Costa leads BMW i Andretti Autosport team-mate Alexander Sims through the Swimming Pool chicane. Image sourced from @BMWMotorsport via Twitter.

Mitch Evans had a strong recovery drive from 12th to cross the line in seventh, after passing the stricken Virgin of Sam Bird. The Briton stopped on the penultimate lap with a puncture, and ended an impressive drive from 14th to sixth position.

Virgin’s day didn’t get any better, as Robin Frijns made contact with Sims at St Devote and failed to finish. On top of this, the Dutchman has a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Berlin.

Audi’s day to forget

Sims had forced Lucas di Grassi to retire when he moved to the outside of Turn 3 and put the Audi driver into the wall.

Daniel Abt finished eighth, but recieved a 33 second time penalty, after a late incident which caused NIO’s Oliver Turvey to retire.

Abt explained the incident from his perspective: “The full course yellow came out, Turvey was in front of me.”

“There was five seconds to slow down and reach the 50km/h [limit] and he just didn’t take that much and he fully braked in the first moment.”

“I wasn’t expecting [this], because you basically give away three seconds [doing that], which is a lot of time.”

Abt added: “He braked and because I was so close, I had to react and I braked as hard as I could, but still hit him in the back.”

“By hitting him, I think he got a puncture.”

Andre Lotterer put in an astounding recovery to ninth after starting twentieth following a poor qualifying session.

Alex Lynn’s Jaguar rounded out the top ten, despite losing a wheel cover. Contact with several drivers cost him several places in the midpoint of the race.

 

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