Defending champion Sebastien Buemi bounced back from a disappointing Mexico City ePrix to win his second Monaco ePrix, fending off championship rival Lucas di Grassi in the closing stages of the race.
Prior to the race getting underway, Faraday Future Dragon Racing’s Loic Duval was dropped from 12th to the back of the grid for exceeding the permitted amount of laps in qualifying to make it an all Faraday Future back row.
With the grid now set, it was Buemi who led the opening phases of the race as everyone made it past season one’s chaos zone relatively unscathed. Buemi extended his lead to a second by the end of lap one, whilst Piquet whacked the barrier, but not enough to cause serious damage. The biggest loser on the opening lap was Stephan Sarrazin as he fell from 11th to last after an issue getting off the line, though he was trading fastest laps with Buemi a few laps later despite being at the back of the pack.
Disaster struck DS Virgin on lap seven as Sam Bird lost the rear and clipped the wall at the end of the lap and was left with no option other than to pit, whilst his team-mate Jose Maria Lopez was shown the back & orange flag due to a flapping rear wing he initially damaged on lap one.
After mechanics literally hit Bird’s rear end with a spanner and replaced Lopez’s wing, both joined the race at the back to duel it out for the prize of fastest lap.
Out front Buemi comfortably led from di Grassi and Piquet, and Maro Engel had fiery rookie Felix Rosenqvist for company as they battled over sixth place. Daniel Abt dived down the inside of Robin Frijns behind them and set his sights on joining that battle.
FanBoost winners were revealed as race leader Buemi, championship rival di Grassi and a driver that desperately needed it in Sarrazin.
As Piquet struggled to keep up with the leaders, a feisty Jean-Eric Vergne was now all over his rear end; sticking his car down the inside and around outside until they inevitably made contact, bringing an end to Vergne’s race as he was caught between Piquet’s car and the barrier at the Turn 3. The safety car was deployed as a result on lap 22 and almost everyone dived into the pits to make their mandatory pit stop earlier than expected.
Buemi led from di Grassi and Heidfeld as the field reformed behind the safety car with no real movers, minus everyone behind the incident moving up a place as they recovered Vergne’s stricken Techeetah.
The race got back underway on lap 26 with Buemi nailing the restart, leaving di Grassi and the field behind once again to open a one-second gap after just one lap. D’Ambrosio moved out of the train of cars a few laps later due to issues with his car, restarted the car and drove down pit lane. Loic Duval then joined his Faraday Future team-mate in the pit lane to compound a nightmare day for the Faraday Future team.
33 laps in and Bird held the fastest lap, but race leader Buemi was left lifting and coasting as he tried to level out the percentage difference between his car and second place man Lucas di Grassi; utilising FanBoost to maintain the gap he had built. Elsewhere Esteban Gutierrez was under investigation for an unsafe release.
As first, second and third drove in three separate world’s, the main fight on track was for fourth place as Piquet battled with Engel, Rosenqvist and Abt, however, everyone was taking it reasonably easy to enable one last push at the end of the race.
No further action was taken against Gutierrez’s pit stop as Antonio Felix da Costa was also revealed as being under investigation for an unsafe release as he drove around in the last points paying position. The result of the investigation of that one is still pending.
Four laps to go and a lively Lucas di Grassi was on the tail of race leader Buemi as the Swiss driver tried to hold onto the lead with less energy compared to his rival.
Despite being on the tail of Buemi all the way around the closing stages of the race, Buemi was able to hold on to win his fourth race of the season by 0.320s, Heidfeld came home in third for his second podium of the season and the battle for fourth remained unchanged as they came across the line.
It was another point’s finish for Gutierrez and da Costa ended Andretti’s wait for points, scoring their first points since Hong Kong. Renault e.dams’ Nico Prost rounded out the top ten.