How Nick Cassidy Seized Victory and Formula E Points Lead at Monaco
Nick Cassidy wins and replaces Pascal Wehrlein atop the points leaderboard, but third-place finisher Jake Dennis says his Avalanche Andretti car is ‘the best race car right now’ and could shine next month at Portland, Ore.
Jaguar’s Mitch Evans takes second by default when the Safety Car takes to the course, but Cassidy calls him ‘bloody strong’
Penalties handed out before race even begins.
Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy vaulted to the top of the ABB FIA Formula E standings Saturday, charging on Monaco’s legendary street course from ninth place to win for the second straight time.
The New Zealand driver held off Mitch Evans, his fellow countryman and Jaguar TCS headliner, and third-place finisher Jake Dennis, of Avalanche Andretti in Round 9, which kicked off the second half of the 2023 season.
Before the series featuring all-electric single-seat race cars brings its global brand to the United States, to Portland, Ore., June 24, it will swing through Asia for a June 3-4 doubleheader at Jakarta, Indonesia.
And though Cassidy has the momentum in the Gen3 model, third-place Dennis—a British driver who represents one of just two American-owned Formula E teams—said Saturday that he just might be the one to beat come June.
“Coming up to the next races in Jakarta [and] in Portland, I think we do have the best race car right now and if the races don't always play out the way they are at the moment, then I think we can use that energy advantage,” Dennis, who improved from 11th place to his fifth podium finish this season, said. “Right now, it's just survival for the first 15-20 laps: try not pick up any damage and then see where you're at in the three-quarter phase of the race. And then the last phase is just flat out. So it's difficult for us drivers right now.
“I would like to see a bit of a change moving forward,” he said. “I do feel like the Gen2 style of racing was a little bit better. It's a bit more consistent the whole way through the race. Right now, it's 15 laps with nobody wants to lead and then five laps of just chaos and then five laps of flat out. So it's a bit strange to race for us right now but puts on a good show, for sure.”
Cassidy would deny he put on a compelling show, saying, “I definitely led too early at points. I was definitely too aggressive at points. But I'm just still developing my craft. I think these guys are, as well, and it got to a stage where I knew that we're fighting, but how do you position yourself? What moves do you make, and how do you see it playing out? Obviously, we see the end result of the last three laps, but that's the work done from 20 laps ago in this category. So I’m really enjoying it at the moment.
“This feels amazing, This is so, so special. I'm lost for words. It is going to take a bit to sink in. We had such a tough day, I was 21st in both Free Practices, which struck me a lot. I qualified in 10th, and I was really happy with that, so that was kind of how our day was going. Credit to our guys. Both car crews and everyone in our garage helped out with the issues. I am so happy we got the reward after the work,” Cassidy said. “There is a long way to go. It is going to be a really cool fight, but for the moment let’s just enjoy the fact we won in Monaco.”
Evans, who Cassidy said “showed today how bloody strong he is,” gave credit to the winner and his team. He said he “gave it my best today,” keeping pressure on Cassidy until Nico Müller’s wall-banger brought out the safety car with three laps remaining.
“Nick passed me at the right time. I thought I had him, but he made a good move on me, and that was it. Another podium. We are on a good roll, so good points and that's the main thing,” Evans said, unsure about whether he could have taken Cassidy in a green-light finish. “I kind of became locked out a bit after the Safety Car. There's a few moments in the race I wish I could do again and may have had a different outcome, but it is what it is. We just missed out today.”
The event wasn’t without some controversy. In the middle of the pole position ceremony, Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz learned he was hit with a post-session penalty. NEOM McLaren’s Jake Hughes was declared the polesitter.
Title contender Jean-Éric Vergne, the series’ lone two-time champion who races out of the DS Penske garage, received a penalty for a tire-pressure violation and was sent to the back of the starting grid but rebounded to finish seventh. That earned him the distinction of inaugural recipient of the ABB Driver of Progress Award for most places gained in a race.
Cassidy and Evans gave New Zealand a Formula E-record 1-2 punch: four consecutive victories for a single nation.