Despite not being held in Monaco in 2016, this year’s Formula E event proved to be an outstanding success, with packed enclosures and spectator areas on race day showing its growing popularity.
Renault’s Sébastien Buemi led from the start and held off Lucas di Grassi of Brazil to win his fourth race of the year and his second straight Monaco ePrix.
Switzerland’s Buemi extended his lead in the standings to 15 points over Audi Sport ABT’s di Grassi.
Di Grassi, who had won the previous race in Mexico, with Buemi coming in only 14th, rued the fact he had missed out on pole position: “It is difficult to overtake here and track position is so important,” he said, adding: “I had the better car than Seb today but he was in front.”
Buemi admitted it had been a close call: “I did not have much margin and finished on the limit of my energy reserves.”
The safety car had been called out before halfway through the race, thanks to a clash involving Jean-Eric Vergne and Nelson Piquet Jr, and all the drivers came in for their obligatory car change on the same lap what meant the end of all strategic considerations and so, only the racing on the track was crucial for the result.
The main beneficiary was Nick Heidfeld, who moved up to third spot on the podium after starting eighth on the grid.
“This was tough but fair,” said Venturi driver and local favourite Maro Engel. “Managing your energy perfectly is difficult when you have to fight all the time to fend off a pressurising rival.”
Venturi team owner Gildo Pallanca Pastor said, “I’d like to congratulate the entire team on this result in the home race. And now it’s flat out for next week in Paris.” Due to a scheduling conflict, Maro Engel will be replaced in Paris by reserve driver Tom Dillmann who is going to contest his debut race in the Formula E Championship.
But the biggest winner of the day was Monaco itself, proving yet again that as a venue it leads the world.