Formula E: Nick Cassidy wins Monaco E-Prix thriller & takes world championship lead
Nick Cassidy has won the 2023 Monaco E-Prix of Formula E. In a gripping race with a late accident involving other drivers, the New Zealander crossed the finish line under safety car conditions - his second victory in a row. The Envision driver also took the world championship lead. Second place went to Mitch Evans in the Jaguar ahead of Andretti driver Jake Dennis. Pascal Wehrlein made it into the top 10 but lost his world championship lead.
At the start, pole-sitter Jake Hughes maintained his lead. Max Günther tried to get past Norman Nato on the outside in fourth, but stayed behind. Instead, he had to let Dan Ticktum past in the uphill passage after turn 1. Mitch Evans gained a position on Nick Cassidy, putting him sixth behind Hughes, Sacha Fenestraz, Nato, Ticktum and Guenther. There were no significant contacts on the first lap.
The first attacks worth seeing were launched by Oliver Rowland. First against Sebastien Buemi in the hairpin, then also against Evans. Starting from 13th on the grid, he was already sixth after two laps. Then Andre Lotterer's race ended after a crash: He drove into the final corner alongside compatriot Rene Rast and made contact. Lotterer spun into the right-hand wall and subsequently had to park his damaged Andretti. The three Nissan cars at the front kept the field close together around the narrow streets of Monaco. Hughes affirmed on the radio that he was doing his best. Fenestraz' engineer assured him that his teammate Nato would not attack him.
Cassidy put on a charge: First he overtook Jake Dennis and Evans with a spectacular maneuver around the outside of the hairpin. A little later, he launched successful attacks against Ticktum and Nato. After seven laps, the world championship runner-up was already second in the race! Rowland misjudged his braking point at the end of the tunnel, crashing into the rear of Mortara. He damaged his front wing in the process and dropped to the back of the field. It was later revealed that he also injured his hand. Mortara was able to continue.
Thrilling duels, race pace picks up
On lap 8, Fenestraz took his first of two attack modes and dropped back to 4th. Cassidy now inherited the lead. Rast suffered front wing damage after contact and dropped back. This meant that there was nothing more for him to gain in Monaco. Cassidy drove through the attack zone and dropped back to 5th place. In the meantime, Ticktum was leading the race until he went for his attack mode. Then Evans was in the lead - still without any Attack Mode activation.
After twelve laps and an eventful opening phase, Cassidy led ahead of Evans and Fenestraz. Behind them: Dennis, Hughes, Ticktum and the two Maseratis of Günther and Mortara. Porsche drivers Antonio Felix da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein had fought their way up to 10th and 11th place at this point. While Hughes somewhat held up the field behind him, Dennis attacked Fenestraz in front of him - and took 3rd place from the Nissan driver. There was slight contact between the two Porsches, with Wehrlein losing parts of his front wing.
At the halfway point of the race, Evans was putting pressure on leader Cassidy. However, he was told by his team to stay in the slipstream to save energy. Evans didn't care much, though: On lap 16, he attacked Cassidy at the end of the start and finish straight to take the Monaco E-Prix lead. Felix da Costa suddenly slowed down in the Tabac corner, dropped back with a puncture and had to head for the pits - a bitter blow for the Portuguese, who had already made up several places. After a tire change, he drove back onto the track, but in the end would only finish 16th.
Ticktum collides with Nato, then with Günther
Cassidy again took the lead from Evans. While Günther mounted a strong attack against Hughes in the uphill passage, Dennis and Evans engaged in a gripping duel for second place, with Evans initially retaining the upper hand. Meanwhile, the race was getting faster and faster. Obviously, energy management now played a subordinate role. So Evans, too, was told to attack Cassidy now for 1st place.
Then came two accidents - both again involving Dan Ticktum. The Briton in the Nio 333 first collided with Nato, hitting him lightly in the rear before the final corner. Nato was forced to pit and later returned to the track with a significant gap.
Just a few seconds later, there was another crash with Ticktum: Günther set off to attack in the right-hand lane in the uphill passage after turn 1. Ticktum shut the door, resulting in contact. Günther had to park his damaged Maserati and the safety car came onto the track. Ticktum was able to continue. Edo Mortara, meanwhile, was also without a front wing after slipping into the rear of his teammate Günther at the hairpin.
Accident between Müller & Bird ends victory duel prematurely
After a few minutes, the safety car came back in at the end of lap 24. On the restart, Cassidy maintained his lead ahead of Evans, Dennis, Fenestraz and Hughes. In terms of energy, Cassidy was slightly worse off than his direct rivals for the race win. However, this was no longer to matter as there were only a few laps to go. Despite a safety car phase, the race was not extended.
Nico Müller had worked his way into the top 10 - also without a front wing. But then he tangled with Sam Bird in turn 1 and hit the wall. Race director Scot Elkins had to call the safety car again on the penultimate lap. This meant that the winner was decided already. After his success in Berlin, Nick Cassidy also won the Monaco E-Prix and thus took the lead in the Formula E World Championship! Evans was second, with Dennis completing the podium.
In the drivers' championship, Cassidy is now 20 points ahead of second-place Wehrlein! Dennis and Evans follow a few points behind. In the team standings, Porsche has also lost the lead to Envision Racing. Third is the Jaguar factory team. Andretti overtook DS Penske for fourth, and Nio 333 moved past Mahindra thanks to Ticktum's eight points. The next Formula E race is less than a month away on June 3 in Jakarta.