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Vergne beats Rowland at Monaco

4-way battle for lead
Saturday, May 11, 2019

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Jean-Eric Vergne
Jean-Eric Vergne

Starting from Pole, DS Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne pulled away with Mahindra's Pascal Wehrlein close behind in second and Nissan e.dams Oliver Rowland. Despite clinching Pole in the Super Pole shoot out, the British driver was put back after a three place grid penalty was carried over from the Paris race.

Proven Monaco master Sebastien Buemi in fifth was the first to engage the extra power gained through ATTACK MODE. Each car can use ATTACK MODE twice, with each activation lasting for a total of four minutes. Shortly after, Wehrlein, in second, went wide on Turn 1, giving away two positions as Rowland and Venturi's Felipe Massa slipped through into second and third respectively.

With 22 minutes left, both Envision Virgin Racing's Sam Bird and Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler's Lucas di Grassi jumped up two places within a matter of minutes, leaving Bird in eighth and di Grassi close behind in ninth. Having finished runner up twice here in the past, the Brazilian driver was keen to make his way through the pack.

Coming into Turn 3, BMW i Andretti Motorsport's Alex Simms turned into Audi's Lucas di Grassi, slamming him into the barrier. Sustaining damage, di Grassi ground to a halt in the iconic swimming pool section of the track, ending his race and chances of a win in Monaco.

Still in the lead, reigning champion Vergne widened the gap between him and Rowland in second and Massa in third. With less than two minutes left, Frijns and Sims came together on track, putting Frijns car out of action, which saw his race end early.

Vying for the top sport, Rowland increased the pressure on JEV, desperate to pass and clinch his first win in Formula E. But his efforts were no match for reigning champion Vergne, who crossed the line in first followed by Rowland and home race hero Massa in third. While Vergne was busy celebrating, Sam Bird in sixth ground to a halt at Rascasse unable to finish the race. Devastated, Bird made his way back to the pits.

JEV ENDS THE STREAK, THE TITLE HUNT BEGINS

Monaco
Monaco
"As a driver, it's always the place you dream to be," said DS Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne moments after clinching his second win of the season in the Monaco harborfront. I've never had a podium here in Monaco...I remember all the legends that have been on this podium and all the hard times I had in Formula One, so to be here to today feels very special to me."

With two wins to his name, the Frenchman breaks the record streak of eight different winners in eight races, shooting to the top of the standings where he sits five points ahead of his teammate Andre Lotterer (the voestalpine European races leader) in second. Despite the two wins and a total of 87 points, the DS Techeetah driver is far from complacent.

"Nothing will be stable until the end of the year - it's the way this Championship is. It's going to be extremely tough until the end of the season. It's the best situation to be in but it's not a comfortable situation.

"I'm the best example of how much can change in this championship is. I arrived here sixth in the standing and I leave Monaco as the leader - nothing is guaranteed in Formula E."

With only 33 points separating the top ten drivers and less than a second separating all 22 cars in Qualifying, it's all still to play for as the Championship rolls into Berlin on May 25. With the record spell of unpredictability broken, watch out as title hunt starts to step up towards the season finale in New York City.

"I never had a doubt about what I could do," says Venturi's Felipe Massa, clearly emotional but relieved at securing his first Formula E podium finish in Venturi's home race here in Monaco.

"The clean race we had is very important for us. I could have had a podium before this race but unfortunately something always happened."

After an uneventful start to the season, Massa's win in Monaco follows on the success of his teammate Edoardo Mortara after he inherited the win in Hong Kong. Despite being one of the smallest teams in the championship, underdogs Venturi have shown promise this season as the squad aims to improve on its seventh place finish last season.

"I remember passing by the grandstands during the race and hearing my kids shout for me - it was incredible. At the end of the podium, Gildo Pastor, our team boss, was crying and thanking me for doing this for us here in Monaco. After everything that he's been through, I think this kind of thing gives even more. It brings a great deal of happiness to all of us in the team."

"I'm still surprised," says Nissan e.dams Oliver Rowland after claiming his second podium in his short Formula E career. With two podiums and three pole positions to his name, Rowland sits ninth in the championship standings with 59 points - just 28 points adrift of championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne.

"If I'm honest, each time I arrive, I think I'd better keep it. It's quite a lot of pressure to keep coming and performing. I've got a lot of respect for my teammate - he's taught me an awful lot.

"We push each other on - at the start of the season, I was nowhere near him but then I made a big step because I learnt from him. I'm sure he's going to take the things that I'm doing differently and take them into his locker room as well."

In relation to his teammate Sebastien Buemi, who was the only Formula E driver to win in Monaco until today, Rowland is four places ahead of his seasoned Formula E mentor. If the British drivers form continues, there's a chance he could be in a favorable position for when the final comes around in New York City.

Result - 51 laps

POSDRIVERTEAMCARGAP
1Jean-Eric VergneDS TecheetahDS0.000s
2Oliver Rowlande.damsNissan0.201s
3Felipe MassaVenturiVenturi1.261s
4Pascal WehrleinMahindraMahindra1.439s
5Sebastien Buemie.damsNissan6.215s
6Antonio Felix da CostaBMWBMW15.956s
7Mitch EvansJaguarJaguar16.213s
8Daniel AbtAudiAudi16.400s
9Andre LottererDS TecheetahDS16.848s
10Alex LynnJaguarJaguar18.112s
11Stoffel VandoorneHWAVenturi18.551s
12Jose Maria LopezDragonPenske18.860s
13Jerome d'AmbrosioMahindraMahindra21.488s
14Gary PaffettHWAVenturi21.853s
15Alexander SimsBMWBMW26.934s
16Tom DillmannNIONIO31.861s
17Sam BirdVirginAudiNot running
18Robin FrijnsVirginAudiNot running
-Oliver TurveyNIONIORetirement
-Lucas di GrassiAudiAudiRetirement
-Edoardo MortaraVenturiVenturiRetirement
-Maximilian GuntherDragonPenskeRetirement

Drivers' standings

POSDRIVERPOINTS
1Jean-Eric Vergne87
2Andre Lotterer86
3Robin Frijns81
4Antonio Felix da Costa70
5Lucas di Grassi70
6Mitch Evans69
7Jerome d'Ambrosio65
8Oliver Rowland59
9Daniel Abt59
10Sam Bird54

Team standings

POSTEAMPOINTS
1DS Techeetah Formula E Team173
2Envision Virgin Racing135
3Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler129
4Mahindra Racing116
5Nissan e.Dams99
6BMW i Andretti Motorsport88
7Venturi Formula E Team84
8Panasonic Jaguar Racing74
9HWA Racelab28
10Geox Dragon13
11NIO Formula E team6


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