Renault e.dams leave the Principality of Monaco with a return to the winning feeling : from pole to victory, Séb Buemi scored a total of 28 points ,while from the back of the grid, Nico Prost made a strong comeback to finish in the points with tenth place.
The second visit to the Monaco ePrix opened under blue skies and in sunny conditions. All drivers were eager to go on track as there was no shakedown on Friday. Séb Buemi underlined his strong form by topping both Free Practice sessions. Not only that, the Swiss driver was the first man to dip under the 53s barrier and he also bettered his own lap time from 2015 by 1.6s. Nico Prost finished second with a lap time of 53.237s in FP1 and eighth during FP2.
The championship leader drew Qualifying group 1 while his teammate got group 2. After a mature drive, Séb Buemi set the fastest lap of his group and made it to Super Pole. He then kept his head clean and went 0.237s quicker than his closest rival Lucas di Grassi (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport). Unfortunately for Nico Prost, he had to settle for P19 after clipping a barrier at the start of his flying lap.
Séb Buemi produced a masterful drive from start to flag : he managed to lead the rest of the pack after Turn 1 and at the restart after a safety car period due to a collision between Jean-Eric Vergne (Techeetah) and Nelson Piquet Jr (NextEv). It was a tight battle between him and his closest rival di Grassi but after a brilliant drive, he secured his fourth win of the season. It was more of a difficult race for Nico Prost who had to start from the back of the grid. However he managed to carve his way through the field and overtake the drivers in front of him, one by one. He was determined to score more points for the team and finished in tenth position securing the final point on offer. Following the race, António Félix da Costa (MS Amlin Andretti) was penalised for an unsafe relase, thus promoting Nico Prost to ninth.
Renault e.dams leave the Principality remaining unbeatable at this famous track, as Séb Buemi was triumphant here when the series held its maiden event in 2015.
Next up is the Qatar Airways Paris ePrix which will be held next week on Saturday, May 20th and Renault e.dams lead the Teams’ standings with a total of 151 points. This win for Séb Buemi means he is now 15 points ahead of di Grassi and leads the Drivers’ standings with 104 points.
#9 : Séb Buemi : “I am really happy to be winning again. I was quicker the first half of the race and everything was under control, so I managed to build a gap between Lucas and I in case of a safety car. On the second stint, I was struggling to match his pace,so basically I did the entire race looking in the mirrors. It was in the second car where I had less pace, so we need to understand why this was. . In general, we change a little bit the set-up of the second cars in order to use the extra grip of the circuit. If you want the perfect car, sometimes it need adjustments. I am still very happy with that result and I am looking forward to go to Paris next week. We have a good car, we have a great team.”
#8 – Nico Prost : “I had a disappointing result in qualifying but overall it was a great race. When you start from the back of the grid in Monaco, you don’t expect much. But the car felt really good and the job of the team was incredible. I just need to understand why we are not that competitive in qualifying. We need to put everything together and then we will fight for podium at every race.”
Vincent Gaillardot – FE Program leader : “It is a good weekend overall. We put the “machine” back on track after a tough Mexico ePrix. It had been a long time since Séb had not been in pole position. Therefore, he started the race in a strong position and managed his race very well. The noose is tightening from race to race with ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, so we need to keep working very hard to offer the best cars to both drivers. I think we can congratulate the whole team for their hard work. We wanted to play it safely for this weekend and now we are back at work for Paris. The ePrix is coming very fast, it’s the first time since season 1 we have a back-to-back race. The track is a little bit different. As we don’t have much time to be ready, we need to make sure everything is well prepared and we will have to work fast on the cars. We hope for a similar weekend next week.”
Jean-Paul Driot – co-owner of Renault e.dams : “The story is repeated as we won the Monaco ePrix back in season 1. It was a close battle between Séb and di Grassi so we are a bit under pressure for Paris. But I think it is great because it multiplies our motivation for next week. Thanks to the thrilling race we had today, we can see both cars – from di Grassi and Séb – are performing. Last year, we had a poor qualifying performance because we were struggling with the tyre temperature but this time we are coming in May, so we hope to do better.”
Alain Prost – co-owner of Renault e.dams : “It was our objective after a disappointing Mexico ePrix, to win the race – and especially Monaco which is an iconic race along with Paris ePrix on our calendar. At the same time, it was a bit stressful because since the start of the season we are struggling with qualifying and here it is really difficult to overtake when you are not in the front. Nico did great this morning during Free Practice sessions, it was not what we expected in qualifying and you can see the consequences of starting from the back of the grid. They both did a great race though, they are both in points which is really difficult when you start before last. We are very satisfied of that result before Paris ePrix. We know Paris will also be difficult, we will have even more pressure than here but we are fully motivated.”