Closed Circuit: Techeetah in Monaco
Glamour, glitz and… gone wrong. What looked like another podium for the Techeetah team turned into a rather disappointing result in the end. With Jean-Eric Vergne not able to finish the race after an accident, rookie Esteban Gutierrez had to run up the Techeetah flag on his own.
It was an eventful weekend for the Techeetah team in Monaco. The Chinese squad started the glamour weekend in Monte Carlo very well and Jean-Eric Vergne was able to secure a strong P4 in qualifying. With Esteban Guiterrez in P13, the team was looking forward to securing some more championship points.
The race looked very promising at first, with Vergne being able to defend his fourth place and even pressure NextEV NIO driver Nelson Piquet JR ahead of the Frenchman. Nevertheless, a controversial overtaking manoeuvre did not only mean Vergne had to retire from the race, but the Techeetah star also injured his hand. Gutierrez meanwhile showed another solid performance, profiting from several drivers’ mistakes and crossed the finish line in P8.
Team mate comparison: qualifying
- Jean-Eric Vergne
- Esteban Gutierrez
Team mate comparison: race
- Jean-Eric Vergne
- Esteban Gutierrez
“We came to Monaco on a high after Jean-Eric Vergne’s second consecutive podium in Mexico and Esteban’s P10 finish on his debut. Jean-Eric went quickest in Group Qualifying proving the pure pace in the car. The race got off to a good start with both drivers holding their positions. Jean-Eric started applying pressure on Nelson Piquet Jr. and got alongside a few times but ultimately came off worse off after a great overtaking maneuver on Piquet which was ultimately judged as a racing incident by the stewards. Esteban did a great job on energy management. He also overtook two cars to finish P8. Finishing the first two races inside the points is really positive progress. Up until the incident both drivers held themselves well and the speed was clearly there. All these positive signs give us lots of hope on the Paris ePrix.”
Mark Preston, Team Principal
Once again it looked like Jean-Eric Vergne would be able to challenge for the victory. Strong performances throughout the day climaxed in a fantastic qualifying lap ahead of the Super Pole shootout. During Super Pole, he was not able to repeat his fabulous flying lap and had to be content with P4 on the grid.
During the race, the Frenchman was able to defend his fourth place and he was able to put pressure on Nelson Piquet JR (NextEV NIO) ahead of him. The affaire d’honneur found a sudden end right next to the Monegasque harbour when they collided. Vergne then had to retire from this race following said controversial incident.
Best time in FP1: 54.127s (P6)
Best time in FP2: 53.001s (P4)
Best time in qualifying: 53.286s (P4)
Best time in the race: 55.064s (Lap 16)
Pit stop time and difference to minimum pit stop time: no pit stop
“I don’t have a personal view on the incident. When I was alongside with him at the exit, he didn’t leave me any room. I could follow the pack in the race while saving a lot of energy. I would not say the win was possible because there were still two cars to pass, but a podium was within reach. I am happy for Esteban again finished in the points. Two races and two points finish is very good progress The performance today was amazing up until the incident and operation wise also a clean weekend. So I am looking forward to my home race next weekend.”
Esteban Gutierrez has already proven that he is a solid bid for points in Mexico City and he was able to build on his performance shown a few weeks ago. Monaco has only been his second full day in the Techeetah car and the Mexican did not disappoint.
Following a solid qualifying, Gutierrez was able to keep his cool during the turbulent first lap and managed to successively make his way through the field. In the end, he was able to score four points for his team as he crossed the finish line in an impressive P8.
Best time in FP1: 54.171s (P8)
Best time in FP2: 53.344s (P11)
Best time in qualifying: 54.097s (P13)
Best time in the race: 55.251s (Lap 18)
Pit stop time and difference to minimum pit stop time: 54.709s (+1.709s)
“Very positive race. I would say there is still some room for improvement but this is only my second day in the car. I am getting more and more comfortable with the characteristic of the car. I hope we can get a clean weekend . Hopefully without the technical problem we had today which compromised qualifying. I am confident we can fight at the front in the future.”
Image courtesy of Rajan Jangda