With Maximilian Günther topping the timing board in this morning’s practice, would the Maserati MSG driver be able to convert this form into a qualifying pole position?
Mitch Evans kicked off Group A with a time to beat of 1:30.956s and stayed out for the eight minutes to try and stake a claim for the Qualifying Duels. His time was bested, briefly, by the two DS Penske’s of Vergne and Vandoorne but the New Zealander charged back to the top with a 1:30.432s before watching things unfold from the pits.
Evans was forced out to defend his first place, though, as Norman Nato, currently 15th in the championship, set a 1:30.425s, 0.007s faster than the Jaguar driver. The Nissan team would ultimately take both of their drivers through to the Duels. Nato finished the session on top with a 1:30.138s, followed closely by his teammate Fenestraz, 0.011s slower, with a lap time of 1:30.149s. Mitch Evans did make it through to the Duels in fourth place, with his ultimate lap time of 1:30.285 pipped by more than a tenth by Dan Ticktum.
Looking to emulate his fast FP2, Max Günther led the early part of Group B with a time of 1:30.638s. He is joined at the top by Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy, who did not get much practice time this morning due to technical issues. Cassidy sat 0.043s behind Günther as the driver’s made their way back out onto the track for the sessions final flying laps.
As time expired, Günther still led the group with an improved time of 1:30.175s. This time would be enough to propel the German driver through to the duels, joined by McLaren’s Jake Hughes, his Maserati teammate Edo Mortara and NIO 333’s Sérgio Sette Câmara. On his final flying lap, Envision Racing’s, Nick Cassidy was seemingly held up by Günther, and he lost two tenths in the final sector.
In the first quarter final duel, Dan Ticktum of NIO 333 Racing took on Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz. The Frenchman made it through fairly easily with a lap of 1:29.031s. Both laps were clean, Fenestraz was just faster.
Next up, Mitch Evans took on the other Nissan representative, Norman Nato. Both drivers drove hard but some slides in the last sector cost Evans and Nato qualified with a lap time of 1:29.113s.
In quarter final 3, Edo Mortara took on McLaren’s Jake Hughes. Mortara lost a lot of time in the middle of the Nouvelle Chicane, sliding wildly and sacrificing time. Jake Hughes sailed through with a time of 1:29.082s.
To close out the quarter finals, Sette Câmara went up against Max Günther. Sette Câmara completed the fastest lap of the two, gaining a chunk of time down the hill section, but there was some question about launch procedure. Sette Câmara appeared to stop at the wrong part of the pit lane and missed his green light to launch. This remained under investigation as the first semi final was set to get underway. Ultimately, Sette Câmara had his lap time deleted, eliminating him from qualifying, and allowing Günther to progress and keep his hopes alive.
That first semi final was an all Nissan affair with Norman Nato squaring off against Sacha Fenestraz. With both drivers sitting fairly low in the championship standings, Nissan will be happy with at least one of their drivers getting the opportunity to gain pole position and take home three points towards the title. Both drivers put in big laps but Sacha Fenestraz advances, perhaps owing to his experience on this course from Formula Renault, with a lap time of 1:28.773, besting the fastest Monaco lap time set by Max Günther in FP2.
In the second semi final, Maximilian Günther looked to upset Jake Hughes, having skirted through to the session on a procedural technicality. Hughes led the majority of the lap, holding a 0.260s lead that increased to 0.467 after sector 2. After that stellar lap, the McLaren driver confirmed his place in the finals with a 1:28.942s lap.
In an all rookie final, Jake Hughes and Sacha Fenestraz vied to start the race on pole. Hughes had some early moments during his lap, almost slipping the rear into the wall at Sainte Devote, but lost the lead on the Nouvelle Chicane, cutting the corner and having his lap deleted. Sacha Fenestraz finished with a time of 1:29.131s to take pole position for the ABB FIA Formula E 2023 Monaco E-Prix, his second Julius Bär Pole Position of his debut Formula E season.
Will Sacha Fenestraz become the first driver in twelve races to win a Formula E race from pole position? Could redemption come for Maximilian Günther when the lights go green? Let us know what you think in the comments below.