Monaco E-Prix – Nick Cassidy took his second win in a row as he conquered the streets of Monaco despite a very difficult start to the day.
While Sacha Fenestraz ended the qualifying coverage in pole position he also had an investigation over his head. A little later the stewards cancelled his lap time as he’d used more than 350kW of power on the lap. That would mean Hughes was on pole but it wouldn’t be Formula E if things were simple so the McLaren racer also had his lap time cancelled because he’d gone outside the track limits while cutting the chicane.
Despite having no times to go on, Hughes was listed as starting on pole and with no official explanation, Tobi Bluhm from e-formel.de believed that article 33.7 of the Sporting Regulations came into play which states that in the case of a dead heat (which no times for either driver would technically classify as) “the Driver who has obtained the time first will be declared the winner.” So Hughes, being the slower of the two in the semi-finals, was the first on track and the first to set a time.
As the lights went out Hughes led Fenestraz off the grid, the top two along with Norman Nato in P3 held their spots while Dan Ticktum got past Maximilian Guenther for P4 and Nick Cassidy moved up from P9 to P7. The big mover of the opening laps though was Oliver Rowland, after starting P13 the Mahindra racer was into P7.
Lap 3 saw the first retirement of the race as Andre Lotterer pulled off the track with damage after having had contact with Rene Rast. The car was able to be cleared with just a Yellow Flag so the race was able to continue.
On lap 7 Hughes took his first minute of Attack mode, that dropped him back to P4 while Cassidy had continued his climb up the field, with some daring overtakes along the way, and was now sitting between the Nissans in P2. The Kiwi was into the lead on lap 8 when Fenestraz took two minutes of Attack, that dropped him to P5, ahead of Hughes.
Cassidy and Nato went off line into the Activation Zone, the Envision taking three minutes while the Nissan took two, they moved back the pack while Dan Ticktum took the lead ahead of Mitch Evans and Jake Dennis.
After such a great start from Rowland, had had contact which dropped him to the back before he had to pit for repairs, Rast had also had to pit for damage and the two emerged a few seconds away from each other on lap 11.
The lead continued to change as Attack Modes were activated and used and at the halfway point Cassidy was in the lead with Evans and Dennis right on his tail. Polesitter Hughes had been shuffled back to P8 while Fenestraz was holding on to the leaders in P4.
Lap 15, with his final Attack Mode activated, Evans asked his team whether he should try and overtake but was told to hold steady in P2 and defend from Dennis. At the start of lap 16 though the Jaguar racer moved past the other Kiwi on the grid to take the lead.
Yellow flags were a common feature of the race as pieces of debris were broken off cars and scattered on the track, the next car to need to pit was da Costa, who’d picked up a puncture and dropped from a points position to P19.
Cassidy took the lead once again on lap 18 while Evans then had to defend from Dennis as the Andretti racer tried to sneak down the inside at the hairpin. Heading into the final ten laps the top three were all within a second of each other while Rowland took to the pits again and became the second retirement of the race.
Lap 22 saw contact between Ticktum, Nato and Guenther all pick up damage. Ticktum breaking his front wing going into the back of Fenestraz and then a few corners later Guenther went into the back of Ticktum as he tried to get past on the run up Beau Rivage. The Maserati stopped on track which brought out the Safety Car. Nato also had to pit for damage, cause unknown, and rejoined at the back.
The race resumed at the end of lap 24 and there wouldn’t be any additional laps so the race would run to the originally stated 29 laps. There was no change at the front at the restart, Cassidy remaining ahead of Evans and Dennis.
Lap 28 brought the race to an end as Nico Mueller stopped on track at Sainte Devote after contact with Sam Bird and the Safety Car was deployed once again. Cassidy took the chequered flag ahead of Evans and Dennis while the front row drivers, Fenestraz and Hughes came home with solid points in P4 and P5. Ticktum finished ahead of Vergne while Buemi split the two Penske cars, who’d started on the back row, in P8. The final driver in the top ten was Bird, though he is under investigation along with Mueller for their collision. Dennis took the fastest lap point with a 1:31.119.
With Pascal Wehrlein not scoring any points today that means that Cassidy is now the championship leader, 21 points ahead of the Porsche driver. After issues in the free practice sessions saw him as one of the slowest, the Envision team pulled together to get his car sorted for qualifying and into a place for him to fight.
The race marks Cassidy’s second win in a row, and as Evans won the two before that, it means that the Cape Town E-Prix in February was the last time a non-Kiwi has won a race and Diriyah was the last podium not to feature a Kiwi.