Stoffel Vandoorne mastered the streets of Monte Carlo with a tactical drive to win the Monaco E-Prix, Round 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, for Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team and take the drivers’ championship lead. The Belgian beat polesitter Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) to the top step, while DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne came home third in front of more than 15,000 fans at the iconic home of motorsport.
Vandoorne emerged on the right side of a mid-race full-course yellow and safety car which threw race strategies up in the air with the Belgian besting Evans after a race-long battle with the help of some measured energy management.
Vandoorne had hit the front after then-leader Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) retired from the lead with unspecified technical issues on lap 16. Once at the head of the pack, Vandoorne seized control and made good on both restarts to take the checkered flag first with race pace and energy in hand.
“It is an amazing feeling, I mean Monaco is always a special race to win as a driver,” related Vandoorne. “Last year we had a tough time here; this year we managed to turn it around. The target was to qualify at the front and then I knew we would be in the mix, and that is exactly how the race panned out. We were flying today — massive well done to the team for giving me a strong car. It has not been an easy start to the season, but it shows the consistency we have. I am extremely happy.
“I feel like I have been fighting at the front all season already, I have had a few pole positions and have not quite been able to convert them into victories. This weekend I decided not to qualify on pole and get the victory instead!”
Evans couldn’t quite capitalize on the searing pace that saw him take the Julius Baer Pole Position, but 18 points and second spot after a Rome win double meant the Jaguar driver’s hot streak continues.
“It was a confusing race because I felt we were looking really good on the energy — obviously off the back of Rome but also approaching the race,” said Evans. “We thought we were pretty conservative, so were not expecting to use much energy, but it was the complete opposite. This is something to look into, maybe we just got things a bit wrong today — but we were quite lucky to get second, so I will take that.”
Vergne followed in third, sparring for the race distance with those ahead and fending off the late attentions of Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns, who came home fourth, the Dutchman extending his consistent run of form. That made it a joint-high of three podiums for Frenchman Vergne and he remains the only driver to score points in every race this season.
No room for error in Monaco 😩
We lose @oliverrowland1 and @Andre_Lotterer from the race after this incident…
🇲🇨 2022 #MonacoEPrix pic.twitter.com/EDjJaVt5yw
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) April 30, 2022
Antonio Felix da Costa made it two DS Techeetahs in the top five, with Lucas di Grassi coming home sixth for a solid haul on home soil for ROKiT Venturi Racing — though Edoardo Mortara retired late on having run much of the race alongside his teammate in the points.
Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) finished seventh, with Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams), Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) and reigning champion Nyck de Vries rounded out the top 10.
All that left Vandoorne six points clear atop the drivers’ standings, and Mercedes-EQ 15 points ahead of DS Techeetah in the teams’ running.
Next stop in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is a double-header E-Prix in Berlin on May 14-15 and marks the midpoint of Season 8.