UPDATE: Sacha Fenestraz had his lap time cancelled for power usage over regulatory limit of 350kW during the Qualifying Duel Final. NEOM McLaren's Jake Hughes will start on pole.
It was a battle of the rookies for the Finals, as Fenestraz and Hughes went up against each other for Julius Baer Pole Position. The last time Hughes made it this far in the duel stages, he took pole in Diriyah - and nobody has reached as many Finals as the Brit who made it three with this effort. However, history ultimately wouldn’t repeat itself as he made a mistake coming out of the tunnel which cost him dearly - the NEOM McLaren driver slipping wide across the Nouvelle Chicane.
Fenestraz kept his cool, and managed a time of 1m29.131s to achieve his second pole position of the year. Although it wasn’t quite as quick as his Semis time, where the Nissan driver managed the fastest Formula E lap in Monaco history, it was still an impressive time and is the quickest Formula E pole lap we've seen in Monaco. Clearly one for records, Fenestraz can add that stat to his record for fastest-ever Formula E lap overall which he achieved in Cape Town.
However, in a dramatic twist, the polesitter was put under investigation for a technical infraction post-session, which at the time of publication is still ongoing.
The two Nissans went head-to-head in the first of the Semis, with at least one of the two guaranteed to start on the front row here in Monaco. Although both looked quick, it was Fenestraz who was flying and beat his teammate by pulling a huge gap in the final sector Norman Nato. The French-Argentine managed the fastest time we’ve seen on the full track here in Monaco, with a 1m28.77s lap!
For the last place in the finals, it was Jake Hughes versus Maximilian Guenther. Despite his early pace, including topping Free Practice 2, Guenther failed to make it through and it was Hughes who made it through to hunt his second-ever Formula E pole. A big deal for McLaren, who have also got a hugely impressive history around these magical streets, with the team making their debut here in 1966.
First up to battle it out was Dan Ticktum (NIO 333) and Fenestraz, with the Nissan man coming out ahead by over three-tenths to the Brit. Next up, Fenestraz’s teammate Nato was going up against last year’s polesitter, Mitch Evans.
Evans has been quick all weekend, so for most he would be the favourite. However, it was Nato who rocketed himself into the semi finals, knocking Evans out in a shocking twist!
McLaren’s Hughes has proved to be incredibly quick as a rookie, getting pole in just his third race earlier this season in Diriyah. This pace continued in his first Monaco race day in Formula E by eliminating Mortara in the quarters.
The final duel was for Sergio Sette Camara and Maximilian Guenther. Although it might have looked to be an easy win for the NIO, there was confusion after the session as Sette Camara was placed under investigation for a qualifying procedure. The Brazilian appeared to miss the traffic lights that mean he can enter the track, mistaking a repeater light further back for the one he needed to use. Sette Camara’s lap time was deleted as a result, and Guenther made it through.
The DS PENSKE duo of Jean-Eric Vergne and Vandoorne went quickest at the start of Group A. However, both were placed under investigation for a technical infringement and pitted soon after. In the end, neither of them made it through into the Duels, and eventually their lap times were all cancelled as a result of a tyre pressure violation and they will start at the back. A huge loss to the team that consists of two former Monaco winners.
Nissan on the other hand had a stunning session, with Nato going quickest overall, and Fenestraz just behind in second. Frenchman Nato was the last driver without a Duels appearance, and is a big change as he lined up last on the grid for the most recent race in Berlin.
NIO’s Ticktum made it through to the knockout stages, slotting into third with Evans just securing his place in the next round by finishing in fourth. His Jaguar TCS Racing teammate, Sam Bird, has never started higher than 10th in Monaco, and this unfortunate record continued as he starts today's race in 15th.
Championship leader, Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche), failed to make it through to the next stages of qualifying again, and will start 11th. With Cassidy just four points behind him in the championship standings, it’s a big weekend for the German Porsche driver who could lose the lead in the drivers’ title.
Maximilian Guenther topped Group B, another great result for the Maserati MSG Racing crew here at their home race. Guenther seems to be happy with the car set up around here, as he also topped Free Practice 2 just before qualifying got underway. Both Maserati cars made it through to the Duels, with Edoardo Mortara finishing Group B in third and automatically got his best-ever Monaco start.
Jake Hughes of McLaren got himself through to the Duels once again, with a time just 0.004s shy of Guenther’s. Sergio Sette Camara also joined Ticktum with both NIOs getting through to the Duels as he finished the session in fourth.
Porsche’s Antonio Felix da Costa, the winner here in Monaco in Season 7, had a disastrous start to his session, after reporting front left damage. He made a quick stop in his team garage, before heading back out but only finishing the session 10th and will start towards the back.