Antonio Felix Da Costa stormed to pole position for round seven of the Formula E championship, ahead of Robin Frijns and Mitch Evans.
Formula E arrived in Monaco for round seven of the 2020/21 championship. With the championship fight still wide open, all 22 drivers arrived at the iconic Monaco circuit hoping to make significant gains in their title campaigns.
The championship leaders headed out in group one with all six drivers leaving a fine margin to reach the checkered flag in time.
On the outlap, Dutchman De Vries received criticism from both Jaguar drivers for allegedly brake checking Sam Bird. The Brit made minor contact with the back of De Vries but both racers escaped without damage.
However, it was Frijns who was fastest in all three sectors after both Mercedes struggled in the middle sector. Frijns set the benchmark time in group one, 1:31.6, a tenth ahead of the Jaguar of Mitch Evans.
Championship leader Nyck De Vries was 1.4 seconds off the pace of Frijns and will start the race at the back of the grid.
Group two struggled to meet Frijns impressive benchmark time with Mortara brushing the wall at several points on the tight Monaco lap. Two time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne proved the most competitive in group two, pushing his Techeetah into superpole contention, two tenths off the pace.
SECOND HALF OF QUALIFYING
In group three, both Da Costa and Sims opted to head out early to avoid traffic. Reigning champion Antonio Felix Da Costa had a purple opening sector and a competitive sector two but could only manage third when he crossed the timing beam.
Meanwhile, Andre Lotterer, a rookie to the Monaco circuit, struggled and could only manage to qualify in fifteenth.
In the final group of qualifying, Gunther looked impressive, driving on the edge and using every inch of the circuit. Gunther’s qualifying effort was enough to put the German driver into superpole contention.
However, in the closing stages of the session, Sergio Sette Camara crashed heavily into the barriers bringing out the red flag. This event ruined the laps of both Blomqvist and Buemi who were allowed by the stewards to redo their laps. Neither driver would set times competitive enough for superpole.
BATTLE FOR SUPERPOLE
As the first driver out, Rowland set the benchmark time in superpole. After a good first and second sector, the British driver hustled his car to set an impressive 1:31.5 lap time.
However, Rowland had his lap time swiftly cancelled after Stewards determined that he had broken superpole procedure, missing the green light in the pitlane. Rowland will therefore start the lap in sixth.
Second driver out on track, Jean-Eric Vegrne managed a clean and precise lap which put him nearly two tenths ahead of Rowland (before the Brit’s lap time was deleted).
Vergne’s teammate Da Costa was next out. The reigning champion was ahead of his teammate in sector one and sector two and despite losing time in sector three, the Portugese driver still managed to secure provisional pole.
Based on the strength of their qualifying performance, DS Techeetah looks set to achieve a significant points haul in the race this afternoon.
Next out, Max Gunther was nearly half a second down after second two and couldn’t challenge either of the Techeetah’s.
The Jaguar of Mitch Evans presented a real challenge to Da Costa, the Kiwi treating Formula E fans to a lap full of drama, brushing the barriers at several points. Despite not having enough pace to challenge for pole, Evans denied the Techeetah’s a front row lockout, taking second on the grid.
As the session drew to a close, all eyes turned to the Envision of Robin Frijns, fastest in group qualifying. After appearing set to steal pole from Da Costa, the Dutchman suffered a lock up in sector two, meaning that only second was possible.
Frijn’s error granted Da Costa his second pole position in the last three races.
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Image Credit: @FormulaE