Monaco E-Prix: Da Costa passes Evans on last lap to win thriller

Antonio Felix da Costa landed a superb first victory of his Formula E title defence in a thrilling Monaco E-Prix courtesy of a last-lap overtake on Mitch Evans. 

Monaco E-Prix: Da Costa passes Evans on last lap to win thriller

The DS Techeetah driver pounced on the energy woes of his Jaguar Racing rival to dive past on the run to the flag and net a sixth series win by 2.8s. 

That margin was flattered by the very heavy defending required by Evans to make the finish, with Envision Virgin Racing driver Robin Frijns pipping the Kiwi at the line by 0.024s. 

Combined with a torrid race for the pre-event points-leading Mercedes drivers, a second place for Frijns promotes him to the lead of the standings at the halfway point of the season. 

Da Costa had led cleanly away from pole to hold position through Sainte Devote in what initially seemed to be a processional opening phase on the full grand prix configuration. 

Second-starting Frijns kept with the reigning champion and was then able to leap for first place on the run to Sainte Devote on the start of lap four thanks to a very clean exit from the final corner.  

The battle for victory then descended into a game of strategy as da Costa and Frijns took turns to activate their attack mode and recover track position from running off-line. 

It appeared that Frijns was on course for victory come the halfway stage of the 26-lap race as he extracted a 1.4s cushion over da Costa as the first attack mode boost expired. 

But on the next tour, he activated it again and by moving through the gate at the exit of Casino Square he dropped behind Maximilian Genther. 

Frijns passed Gunther but then had to re-overtake da Costa, which he executed cleanly on the run to the Nouvelle Chicane and assumed position before the braking zone. 

Da Costa went for attack mode for the second time and came out alongside Evans and they muscled for position down through Mirabeau and Leows hairpin. 

It was da Costa who hung on and then used the remainder of his higher power mode to reel in the 2.5s lead amassed by Frijns, returning the favour on the Dutch driver with a pass exiting the tunnel. 

But the pursuing Evans enjoyed an excellent exit from the final corner, using attack mode, to pass Frijns for second place into Sainte Devote. 

Evans then carried the momentum, pulling off a deft pass on da Costa around the outside of the narrow and high-speed Beau Rivage for the lead.  

A late safety car – called when Rene Rast clattered the barrier in a seventh-place squabble with Nick Cassidy – would not play into Evans’ hands. 

Running with 1% less useable energy than his rivals, he lost his small lead and then had to defend hard at the race restart. Da Costa then delivered a sublime overtake on the final lap. 

He hunted down Evans through the tunnel, managed a sizeable front lock-up to slice through for the lead into Nouvelle Chicane. 

Evans, essentially limping home with energy levels critical, was then pipped at the line by Frijns as Jean-Eric Vergne recovered from an early tangle with Evans and then again with Gunther for a breathless fourth place. 

Behind Gunther, a quieter race for the new Nissan IM02 machine of Oliver Rowland earned sixth place ahead of Jaguar Racing’s Sam Bird – to slash Mercedes’ championship advantage to just two points. 

The second Envision Virgin Racing machine of Nick Cassidy earned a solid eighth as Andre Lotterer recovered 10 places in his Porsche up from 19th. 

Alex Lynn rounded out the top 10 from Lucas di Grassi. 

The Mercedes duo of Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne earned a double retirement, with de Vries stopping on the run from Tabac. 

He was saddled with starting last on the grid and a 10-second stop/go penalty for a powerunit and gearbox change.  

Race results:

shares
comments

Related video

Polesitter Da Costa: Monaco time to turn things around

Previous article

Polesitter Da Costa: Monaco time to turn things around

Next article

Da Costa: Monaco FE win a relief after pressure build-up

Da Costa: Monaco FE win a relief after pressure build-up
Load comments
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21 Prime

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was one without a narrative for much of the season, with no single car or driver able to break away from the pack. That makes choosing a top 10 especially difficult, particularly as the qualifying format meant some worthy performers were unable to enjoy their day in the sun.

How Mercedes and de Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way Prime

How Mercedes and de Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way

When Nyck de Vries dominated the first race of what would be the most controversial and unpredictable Formula E season to date, it looked as though Mercedes was in for a cakewalk. But as the campaign wore on, the path to a title double became increasingly rocky. Neither driver or team would be assured of the crown until the closing stages of the very final race on a weekend of struggle in Berlin.

Formula E
Sep 17, 2021
The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep di Grassi winning Prime

The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep di Grassi winning

OPINION: The departure of Audi from Formula E meant its long-time driver Lucas di Grassi would need to find a new berth to stay on the grid. His deal at Venturi Racing will ensure the championship's first-ever race winner will remain competitive into the final year of the current Gen2 ruleset - although it may not be a long-term fit

Formula E
Sep 15, 2021
The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure Prime

The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure

Mercedes' planned withdrawal from Formula E at the end of the 2022 season will contribute to the big hole left by fellow automotive manufacturers Audi and BMW on their departures. Although the team may stick around under a different guise, the exit of the now-reigning teams' champion underlines FE's current issues...

Formula E
Aug 18, 2021
The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion Prime

The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion

After clinching the Formula E title at the Berlin finale, Nyck de Vries is a driver in demand. Although Mercedes would love to keep a reigning champion at the team, the allure of a Williams F1 drive may be too much for de Vries to ignore should a potential deal come to pass

Formula E
Aug 17, 2021
How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms Prime

How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms

As Formula E lined up to complete its seventh season at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport, all eyes were on who would be its first official FIA world champion. Despite Nyck de Vries' title lead heading into the weekend looking all but secure, the Dutchman held on - and enjoyed a good dollop of fortune - to secure a championship double for Mercedes

Formula E
Aug 16, 2021
Why Audi was right and wrong in Formula E's loophole row Prime

Why Audi was right and wrong in Formula E's loophole row

OPINION: With Audi's Formula E exit imminent, it had nothing to lose in London by attempting to vault Lucas di Grassi into the lead by pitting him under the safety car. Scorn directed at the team for putting glory before ethics should instead be pointed at a rulebook that allowed such a move in the first place.

Formula E
Jul 28, 2021
Why Formula E's London return delivered anarchy in the UK Prime

Why Formula E's London return delivered anarchy in the UK

Formula E landed for a London E-Prix for the first time since 2016, at the indoor-outdoor circuit around the ExCeL. Featuring the birth of renewed title pushes, a long-awaited maiden win and the second race's controversy, the round proved to be an exhibition of the electric series' anarchic nature.

Formula E
Jul 26, 2021