Reigning Formula E champion Antonio Felix Da Costa secured his first victory of 2021 following a sensational race around the streets of Monaco.
As the lights went out, Mitch Evans made the best start, challenging pole sitter Da Costa into the opening corners.
Melee’s further down the order brought out the yellow flags with both Alexander Sims and Jake Dennis involved in collisions. Sims sustained significant bodywork damage and was forced to retire from the race.
Meanwhile, the weekend went from bad to worse for Nyck De Vries who received a 10 second stop and go penalty after the Mercedes team made changes to the car outside the allowed time. Jake Dennis was also penalised by the Stewards for overpower during regen.
Five minutes into the race, Robin Frijns took the lead from Da Costa whilst both Porsche’s opted to take attack mode early into the race. Lucas Di Grassi and Sam Bird were two of the biggest movers, carving their way through the field and into the points.
Da Costa was the first of the leading pack to activate his first attack mode, losing positions and moving down to P4.
The other Techeetah of Jean-Eric Vergne was also in the fight, attempting an overtake on Mitch Evans. However, the tight turns of Monaco bit back and both drivers found themselves squeezed into the corner, narrowly avoiding Da Costa and race retirement.
The Portugese driver retook the lead soon after when Frijns entered his first attack mode. Frijns followed suit a few laps later and returned the favour on Da Costa.
Vergne also tried to activate his second attack mode but failed to hit all the sensors, the Frenchman losing two positions whilst not gaining the advantage of the power boost.
As Da Costa reeled in Frijns and the two engaged in battle once more, Evans also caught the leading pair. Da Costa took advantage of his fanboost through the tunnel to take the lead of the race from the Dutchman.
However, in a sensational series of corners, Mitch Evans proved the real threat, moving past both Frijns and Da Costa to seize the lead.
Almost simultaneously, Rast stopped on the circuit bringing out the safety car for the first time this weekend. The Audi had been battling with Nick Cassidy before colliding with a wall.
With six minutes remaining, the race restarted. Vergne fell back to 8th after activating his second attack mode but made quick work of Sam Bird and Nick Cassidy ahead. However, the Frenchman found himself struggling for energy as was race leader Evans.
Despite his energy deficit, Vergne showed the true pace of the Techeetah and progressed further to 4th, joining the leading pack with Frijns.
Outside the top ten, Vandoorne and Wehrlein both retired from the race.
In the closing moments, De Vries joined his teammate, appearing to stop on the circuit for unknown technical reasons. This concluded a miserable weekend for championship leaders Mercedes, the team finishing with no points.
The last lap of the E-Prix delivered action across the grid, with Da Costa performing a sensational overtake on Evans to steal the victory.
Evans lost a further position to Frijns who passed the Jaguar on the final corner as the Kiwi ran out of energy.
Da Costa’s victory and a strong performance from Vergne puts DS Techeetah back into contention for the constructors championship as the season approaches half distance.
Can Da Costa build on this sensational victory to stage a title comeback? Only time will tell!
Formula E returns on the 19th and 20th of June as the championship heads to Mexico. Follow Overtake Motorsport for championship updates.
A. F. Da Costa DS Techeetah
R. Frijns Envision Virgin Racing
M. Evans Jaguar Racing
J. Vergne DS Techeetah
M. Guenther BMW I Andretti Motorsport
O. Rowland Nissan E.Dams
S. Bird Jaguar Racing
N. Cassidy Envision Virgin Racing
A. Lotterer Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
A. Lynn Mahindra Racing
Featured Image Credit: @FIAFormulaE