ABT Formula E driver Nico Müller criticizes Sam Bird after Monaco accident: "His frustration must run deep"
After Robin Frijns' sensational pole position in Berlin and Nico Müller's ninth place in the subsequent race, things are looking up for ABT Cupra - at least in terms of pace. In Monaco, the Swiss was once again on course for points. However, an impetuous maneuver by Jaguar driver Sam Bird, for which the Briton was penalized, abruptly ended his hopes of a second top 10 result in a row. Müller is correspondingly contrite.
In an eventful race, Nico Müller had worked his way up from 17th on the grid into the points. The ABT Cupra driver benefited from various skirmishes between competitors. However, his Gen3 car was not without its fair share of injuries: although he lost his front wing after one of the many collisions in the race, Müller was running in tenth place.
When Sam Bird activated the attack mode once again on the third-last lap - the Briton had missed the loops once before - the Müller even moved up to ninth place. In an attempt to regain the position, Bird collided with the ABT driver on the penultimate lap. For the Swiss, the race was over. Bird was able to continue.
Müller: "I knew I just had to survive"
"It was clear that someone would try something because I was slow without a front wing," Müller described the initial situation to 'ProSieben'. "But I knew I just had to survive these few laps. Accordingly, I fought back."
"Sam tried to pull off a very late move in turn 1," the ABT driver said. "But he hit me on the rear wheel. I think that says it all. When front wheel meets rear wheel, the question of guilt is settled. All the more frustrating: the car is broken. That means a lot of work for the mechanics, and it costs money for the team. And we don't have any points either. Bitter!"
"Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens again and again, even if it shouldn't," he explains further. "I gave him a very clear signal that the corner was mine. I closed the door on him. He drove over the pit lane exit to try to find space somewhere else. I just drove to the apex and saw him trying."
"I thought he was stuck back because he was far from being level," Müller described. "But he didn't do that for some reason. For him, too, it's frustration that runs deep - he has a strong car under his butt this season and somehow doesn't get it implemented. Maybe that was a factor, too. But in the end, it's not what's decisive."
Bird criticizes midfield racing: "It's worse than it's ever been"
"I missed the attack mode, so I was only in that position," Bird described to 'e-Formula.news'. "The racing there is unlike anything I've seen before. And I don't mean that in a good way. It's worse than it's ever been."
"It's increasing more and more, where people now understand better and better how to play the game," he continues. "It's all about who's lucky enough to take the right line without damaging their car in the process."
Bird received penalty: "My opinion didn't matter there at all"
The race stewards looked at the situation after the race and blamed Bird solely for the collision. He received a five-second time penalty, dropping him from 10th to 16th place. Bird thus also had to leave Monaco without scoring any points. Instead, Pascal Wehrlein moved up into the top 10.
"My opinion didn't interest them at all," Bird said of his appointment with the race stewards, who decided on the penalty. "They don't listen at all. They had already made their decision before they even talked to me."
While Sam Bird is seventh overall and losing touch with the top ranks, Nico Müller is 22nd in the drivers' championship with two points. For both drivers, the next opportunity to score points will be at the Jakarta E-Prix. A double-header will take place in Indonesia on June 3 and 4.