May 14, 2019 - 3min read
Nine races gone in the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship and Monaco certainly didn’t disappoint, with yet more movement at the top of the leader board in what is proving to be a highly unpredictable championship. Here are five takeaways from the weekend’s action in the principality. Next up: Berlin.
Victory for DS Techeetah’s Jean-Éric Vergne brought to an end a remarkable streak of eight consecutive different winners so far this season.
Vergne’s teammate André Lotterer appeared to be the top-form driver going into the ninth race of the season, with Nissan e.dams’ Sébastien Buemi always a threat in the streets of Monaco, having won on the previous two occasions here.
However, Vergne led from the start, claiming his second victory of the season following on from Sanya, with Buemi finishing fifth, and Lotterer ninth. In the process, the reigning Formula E Champion usurped his rivals at the top of the leader board.
Nissan’s Oliver Rowland leads the best of the British in this season’s Formula E Championship after securing a second-place finish.
Rowland has now registered 59 points in the last four races and currently stands in eighth place having failed to secure a single point in the first five races of the season.
Rowland recorded the fastest time in qualifying but was forced to start fourth after incurring a three-place grid penalty for his involvement in a collision in Paris that forced BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alexander Sims out of the race.
Following his second-place finish, Rowland took to Twitter to praise his team, noting: “teamwork makes the dream work.”
The podium places in Monaco were completed by Venturi’s Felipe Massa who finished third. It marked the former Formula One driver’s first ever podium finish in Formula E. He twice finished third in Monaco during his F1 days.
The result constituted an upturn in Massa’s fortunes in what is proving to be a tough debut season marred by technical issues. Formula E is a different kettle of fish to F1 and having raced with the big boys is no guarantee of success on this circuit: just ask Jacques Villeneuve.
Nevertheless, Massa will be buoyed by his performance in Monaco and looking to catch team-mate Edoardo Mortara, before the season’s close.
Nissan’s Oliver Rowland was not the only driver to face a grid-penalty in Monaco. Mitch Evans received a whopping 10-place penalty for narrowly violating speed restrictions during qualifying. It was the Jaguar driver’s third speed-related reprimand of the season.
“It was horrible,” said Evans, speaking to Autosport after the race. “To be on the front row on a track like Monaco when you can't really overtake - wow. I went at 250kW four-tenths too early and had zero advantage from this. You can't even measure it.”
Miffed by his travails with officials this season, Evans has called for a review of the Formula E penalty procedure. The Australian driver, who won in Rome this year, was able to claim an impressive sixth-place finish having started 12th on the grid. But, given his form, it could have been a podium finish.
Standings remain tight at the top of the leader board after Monaco. Vergne now leads the championship on 87 points, just one point ahead of teammate Lotterer.
Virgin’s Robin Frijns – the pre-Monaco championship leader – remains on 81 points, having failed to finish, following a collision with our man Alexander Sims. Frijns reflected on the disappointment on Twitter noting that Monaco has “never been a love story for me.” He’ll be hoping for a return to form in Berlin with four races left to go this season.
As for Sims, the contact with Frijns meant that he endured another difficult race, finishing 15th. Here’s what he had to say:
“Unfortunately, we’re in the situation again where the result could have been pretty positive but in Formula E things can quickly change from a smooth race to a complicated one, and it ended with a disappointing few laps. I can only assume Robin didn’t realise I would defend so hard in the closing laps; the penalty he’s received places the blame with him. Now, we’ve got to move on and keep plugging away as the overall pace and package of the car is there and it’s strong; it deserves good results.”