Electric battle in the Principality

ABB FIA Formula E Championship held the season’s ninth round in Monaco. Although it wasn’t entire the Formula 1 track, they still included the iconic marina section and start/finish straight as a part of the lap.

Jean-Eric Vergne had Pole Position ahead of Pascal Wehrlein, Oliver Rowland, Felipe Massa, Sebastien Buemi and Alexander Sims. With Alexander Lynn in P7, there were six different teams in top  seven.

It wasn’t, however, Vergne who had been the quickest in qualifying, but Rowland instead. He had a three-position grid penalty due to an incident in the previous round in Paris, just as Mitch Evans got sent from P3 to P12 with a ten-position grid penalty for increasing the power too early in the qualifying. The drivers have two different levels in qualifying, and it changes between the first and second flying lap.

Maximilian Günther also got a ten grid penalty for speeding up under Full Course Yellow in practice.

Edoardo Mortara and Jerome D’Ambrosio would also have to start three positions back, due to a collision in Paris. Thus they would start P21 and P19 respectively.

Championship leader Robin Frijns would start the race from P11, while current second place, Andre Lotterer, started from P20.

Monaco ePRIX 2019
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

The start went surprisingly calm, where there were no damaged cars despite a bit of brushing.

Andre Lotterer had a good first lap, and he was up to P17.

Ten minutes into the race, Wehrlein outbraked himself in Turn 1 and lost a place to Rowland and also Massa. He then used his first Attack Mode right away, trying to win back the positions he lost – though without any luck.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Antonio Felix da Costa, Daniel Abt, Jose Maria Lopez and Sebastien Buemi were voted as the five drivers who received Fan Boost in this round.

Alexander Sims tried to overtake Sebastien Buemi in Turn 1, but he couldn’t get past the double Monaco Formula E winner. In fact, no other drivers than Buemi had led a single lap out of the two Formula E visits to Monaco until now. Vergne went and changed that.

Antonio Felix da Costa did one of the few overtakes in the first half of the race, when he drove past Alexander Lynn. The lap after, his teammate Sims also let him past, so the Portuguese driver was up to P6.

Sam Bird was also on the move, when snatched three positions in two laps, by passing Lucas Di Grassi, Stoffel Vandoorne and Alexander Lynn.

Lynn also fell back behind bag Di Grassi, as the Brazilian did an overtaking in the Marina chicane. Lynn tried to defend himself but ended up brushing the armco, so both Robin Frijns and Mitch Evans also got past.

Maximilian Günther cut the armco and damaged the GEOX Dragon car so much that he couldn’t drive it anymore. It resulted in a Full Course Yellow, in order to get the car pushed away, as well as removing Lynn’s front wing.

Sam Bird & Antonio Felix da Costa
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Just as the race got restarted, there was a battle between Buemi and da Costa, where the Portuguese driver almost ended up in the wall. It created a line behind him, so both Sims and Bird attempted to come past. There was no space for Di Grassi on the outside, who then hit the armco and broke his steering. Luckily, he could drive the car away, so we avoided another FCY.

Edoardo Mortara had to park the car in the pits, after a contact with Jerome D’Ambrosio. The latter could, however, continue on the track.

Oliver Turvey also had to park the car after colliding with Daniel Abt.

With only twelve minutes left on the clock, neither Frijns nor Lotterer was in the points, which meant that their P1 and P2 in the championship was hanging by a thread.

Sam Bird squeezed himself past Antonio Felix da Costa, with ten minutes left, and went up to P6.

Mitch Evans overtook Alexander Sims, with a very late dive in Turn 1.

Vergne, Rowland, Massa and Wehrlein were within one and a half seconds of each other, in the battle for the lead.

Monaco ePRIX 2019
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Robin Frijns and Alexander Sims had a contact on the way to Turn 1, which broke the rear suspension on Frijns’ car. He had to retire from the race, while Sims was out of the points.

Vergne was close to running out of power and slowed down the entire field, so he just had enough power to drive over the finish line, in front of Oliver Rowland.

Massa ran out of power a few metres before the finish line, but he had so much speed that he could come over the line with only centimetres to Wehrlein in P4.

Sam Bird never saw the chequered flag, since he had a contact with the barrier in the Swimming Pool chicane and punctured his rear tire. So he got stranded, so close to the finish line… The man just didn’t have any luck so far this year.

Jean-Eric Vergne
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

After the race, the stewards got busy again.

Antonio Felix da Costa got disqualified from the race, because his car had used over the 200kW electricity that was allowed. It meant zero point for the BMW i Andretti driver.

Daniel Abt got a Drive-through penalty for hitting Oliver Turvey, so that Turvey had to retire. The penalty was converted into 33 seconds time penalty, so he lost P7 and instead finished P15.

Alexander Sims will have to move back five places on the starting grid next time, since he was deemed responsible for Di Grassi’s retirement.

Robin Frijns also got a five-grid penalty, since he was responsible for the incident where he went out of the race.

Race winner Jean-Eric Vergne got a fine of 5000 Euros for loosening his seatbelt on the lap after the chequered flag. FIA takes safety very seriously, and doesn’t want people to remove seatbelts, gloves, helmets or anything else before they are back in Parc Ferme.

So, after all the penalties, Jean-Eric Vergne is the new championship leader, one point ahead of Andre Lotterer. Robin Frijns is only five points behind, while Antonio Felix da Costa and Lucas Di Grassi have eleven points to top three.

DS Techeetah also leads the team championship, followed by Envision Virgin Racing, Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler and Mahindra Racing respectively.

The teams only have to wait for a week, before the next round of ABB FIA Formula E Championship continues – 25 May on the streets of Berlin.

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