Reigning champion Antonio Felix Da Costa took his first ABB FIA Formula E World Championship victory of the season after an unbelievable last lap overtake on the famous streets on Monaco – the Portuguese confessing it was the riskiest move of his career.
Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans headed into the final lap in the lead but the Portuguese was pushing him all the way and coming out of the tunnel was able to take overtake in the closing moments of the race.
Robin Frijns was also able to nip past Evans – who admitted he was struggling with energy – at the very end to finish second and go top of the Drivers’ Championship while the New Zealander was forced to settle for third.
Puebla E-Prix: All to race for in both championships with Frijns leading
The victory has catapulted Da Costa back into an increasingly tight title race which is forming with the top six drivers separated by just 14 points and the 29-year-old pointed to his final move as the difference maker on the day.
“It was definitely the riskiest [overtake of my career] and I didn’t think I was going to make it but Mitch was super fair,” he said. “It feels pretty good to win in Monaco though. Oh my god.
“How many lead changes did we have in a Monaco E-Prix? That never happens in any other racing series. The guys raced super hard but super fair and I love racing these guys when it is like this.
“I knew the race was going to be so hard but we played the perfect strategy, the team was telling me everything I needed to know at all times and the attack mode was really well played.”
Da Costa takes Monaco E-Prix pole position
Da Costa secured his second pole of the season following a superb qualifying drive but Frijns took just five minutes to overtake the Portuguese into the lead and quickly opened up a gap.
The gap allowed Frijns to take both his attack modes in the first half of the race to fall back into second but soon went past Da Costa for the second time. However, what looked a comfortable race for Frijns turned on its head with 16 minutes to go as Da Costa used fan boost to nip into the lead.
But his cheers were short lived as Evans produced an incredibly brave overtake on the Portuguese’s inside line having overtaken Frijns while in attack mode just moments before.
A safety car soon slowed down proceedings as Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Rene Rast was forced out of the race as we entered the final five minutes.
As the racing restarted Da Costa was pushing Evans all the way into the final lap with the Jaguar racer having to defend on every turn and he wasn’t able to hold out as his energy ticked down – and the Jaguar racer pointed to this factor as the killer blow.
“I’m hurting pretty bad,” said Evans. “I found myself in the lead but I had burnt quite a lot of energy to get there. I got myself into the fight and into the lead before the safety car but I had unfortunately burnt through too much energy to get past them and I paid the price on the final lap.
“I was just trying to hang on for as long as possible. I knew that Antonio probably was going to get me but I just wanted to try and force him to use as much energy as I could but it wasn’t meant to be.
“It really hurts because I’ve never won in Monaco before but we just weren’t quite good enough today.”
'Consistency is always key' - Leader Frijns taking nothing for granted ahead of Puebla
Da Costa pips Evans on last lap to win Monaco E-Prix