Formula E

Monaco: Vandoorne takes first Formula E podium since 2022, Vergne sees missed opportunity

Tim Neuhaus

Tim Neuhaus

The Monaco E-Prix was the most important race on the Formula E calendar for DS Penske. The team not only came up with new helmet and overall designs, but also gave the DS E-Tense FE23 the "Grand Gala" livery. With the iconic Lotus look, expectations were high. However, the first podium for Vandoorne in the DS Penske and fourth place for Vergne lived up to them.

The black and gold cars were already running well in qualifying. Vandoorne won Group B, while team-mate Vergne finished fourth in this group. Both drivers thus entered the duel phase. On the one hand a reason to celebrate, on the other hand they had already met in the quarter-finals. Vandoorne narrowly beat Vergne, also won his semi-final and secured second place on the grid.

Vandoorne with a great start

The starting phase in Monaco went as hoped for Stoffel Vandoorne. Shortly after the start, the Belgian was able to take the lead and control the race. In the meantime, his French team-mate was battling Pascal Wehrlein and Maximilian Günther for fourth place, but after a few tough but fair manoeuvres, Vergne was able to hold his own.

The crux of the matter for Vandoorne came afterwards: "The first part of the race was very good. I lost the race in the second attack mode," said the Belgian after the race. The aim for Jay Penske's team was to position Vandoorne between the two Jaguar drivers. Unfortunately, this plan did not work out. "If there had only been one Jaguar ahead of me after the attack mode and not two, it would have been a different race."

DS Penske copies perfect Jaguar strategy

Both Jaguar drivers made excellent use of their strategically advantageous position. While first one and then the other New Zealander drove ahead and activated attack mode, the other slowed down the rest of the field behind him. Vandoorne and Vergne were the direct pursuers of the Jaguar drivers, with the Frenchman in particular under great pressure from Wehrlein and Günther behind him.

When there was no way forward and Vergne still had to honour an attack mode, they did the same to Jaguar. The Belgian let Vergne past and allowed him to activate without losing position. Vergne, however, still had to line up behind Stoffel Vandoorne with attack mode activated, a missed opportunity in his eyes.

Vergne angry at having to stay behind his team-mate

In an interview with e-formula.news, the two-time world champion was very unhappy after the race. He was particularly annoyed by the way Jaguar had treated him: "I'm pretty angry that Jaguar had such an easy life. I wanted to at least do something about it, but yeah ... you know, team decision." However, the bottom line is that he is very happy with third and fourth place for DS Penske.

From Stoffel Vandoorne's point of view, it was the maximum points haul after the second attack mode. For the Belgian, it was his first podium in black and gold, but above all his first since his title-winning season in 2022. The long dry spell was eating away at his self-confidence: "It helps. It's always good to get a good result."

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