Envision Jaguar driver Nick Cassidy won a punchy Formula E race in the Principality, which finished under the safety car.
Cassidy’s win, coming from ninth on the grid, also means that he takes the Formula E points lead, in what was the first lead change at the top of the standings since the second round in Diriyah.
On a track that is famously difficult to overtake on there were 54 overtakes in the first 9 laps of the 29 lap race.
A Nissan powertrain 1-2-3 had held at the start, in the same position of the qualifying results with Jake Hughes leading for McLaren over the works Nissans of Sacha Fenestraz and Norman Nato, but the front pack was predictably jumbled big-time as most rushed to get their two attack mode activations out of the way before even the halfway point.
As that halfway point was reached, form man Cassidy was sat up in first courtesy of an aggressive early charge, him and the fellow Jaguar of Mitch Evans pacing the race from up front.
Evans was told around that time to avoid overtaking Cassidy but on lap 21 of 29 he was given the command to attack the green Envision machine.
Just a lap later the safety car was triggered by a full-course yellow following the damaged Maserati of Maximilian Guenther being left parked up at Massenet.
Guenther had tried to work his way around the damaged NIO 333 of Dan Ticktum for sixth – Ticktum having crunched up his front wing against Fenestraz’s Nissan moments before – but was caught out by a Beau Rivage block from the Briton and left with a wrecked car.
The restart soon followed, and with the safety car period proving insufficient for the planned 29-lap race distance to be added to, it set up an effectively flat out run to the finish.
But that showdown ended anticlimactically, with a crash between Evans’ team-mate Sam Bird and Nico Mueller at Ste Devote – Bird tipping Mueller’s Abt Mahindra into the wall – bringing out the safety car again, resulted in the race ending behind the Porsche Taycan.
Poleman Hughes took fifth for Nissan-powered McLaren, with Ticktum grabbing a sixth place for NIO 333 despite the damage.
DS Penske duo Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne had started from the back after having their qualifying times deleted due to a tyre pressure infringement, but made their way to the points, either side of eighth-placed, Envision Jaguar’s, Sebastien Buemi.
Bird finished the race in 10th place after the Mueller contact, followed by Wehrlein and Edoardo Mortara – who spent the majority of the race effectively without a front wing after Maserati team-mate Guenther had pushed him into the wall at the hotel hairpin as he tried to avoid Hughes.
Dennis’ team-mate Andre Lotterer had recorded his best qualifying since the season opener, but any hope of turning 10th on the grid into points was extinguished as early as the second lap as he spun out following contact with Rene Rast exiting the Antony Noghes corner.
Rast himself then had further contact of his own and dropped way to the back, as did Mahindra’s Oliver Rowland, who had gained six positions at the start but then had his race seemingly undone when he clobbered into Mortara at the Nouvelle Chicane.
Speaking about his win Cassidy, said: “It’s insane, I’ve got nothing against Berlin – but this feels amazing! This is so, so special. I’m lost for words. It is going to take a bit to sink in, man we had such a tough day, I was 21st I think in both Free Practices which struck me a lot. I qualified 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.
“There is a long way to go, this guy right here Mitch (Evans) he showed today how bloody strong he is. It is going to be a really cool fight, but for the moment let’s just enjoy the fact we won in Monaco.”
Photo: Simon Galloway / LAT Images / Formula E