'Monaco was a painful experience. We can't lose more ground,' says Mercedes-EQ Team Principal Ian James

Mercedes-EQ endured a tough Monaco E-Prix weekend with qualifying setbacks hampering Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne's progress from the off, leading both drivers to ultimately fail to score points.

Mercedes-EQ headed to Monaco sitting pretty, with Nyck de Vries heading teammate Stoffel Vandoorne after his victory in Valencia - and no doubt both would have been among the favourites for a top result in the principality.

Group 1 in qualifying always has a say, though, and de Vries and Vandoorne each suffered. The Belgian managed just 15th, with track evolution a factor and just 1.3 seconds splitting the entire field. De Vries, however, could only blame himself for a costly error which saw him lining up at the back of the grid.

"At the chicane, it’s quite bumpy with the kerbs," said the 26-year-old. "You do it with one hand, and the other hangs in the cockpit and I accidentally hit the switch. It takes 30 seconds to get it back so I did half the lap without 250kW. It’ll require a software update – a relatively easy fix, but it never happened before."

Race Highlights | 2021 Monaco E-Prix | Round 7

So, not the start to the weekend the team would have wanted, and it didn't get any better from there for the German outfit at the notoriously unforgiving venue.

Mercedes took the opportunity to give de Vries a new power box and gearbox with the ensuing 40-place penalty unable to send him any further back than the last row of the grid. Retirement followed come the race, as it did too for Vandoorne - despite the latter finding himself in points contention and posting the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap of the race along the way.

'We simply can't afford to lose more ground'

Team Principal Ian James is keen for Mercedes to learn from the weekend ahead of the Puebla double-header on June 19-20, with the level of competition in Formula E meaning any more blank rounds will see the team slip quickly down the standings.

Just seven points split the top three teams in the standings, with 16 between the Drivers' top seven. Mercedes still narrowly lead the way, though de Vries slipped to second and Vandoorne sixth.

"It was a painful experience for us," he said. "With only half of the races left to go in this season, we simply can't afford to lose more ground. We now analyse all the detail and address any aspect that may have led to these issues.

"As to why we had a bad day? There are always several explanations for results like this, especially when you have multiple sessions in which you don't reach your potential. But in the end, none of them are good enough if you can't turn them into action - then they become excuses.

"So, let's not hope - but rather make sure - this was our last race day with this amount of setbacks. As I said before, we don't aspire to show these kind of performances, and want to get back to the level we performed at earlier this season - a level we know we can achieve with this amazing group of people."

'Monaco's legendary streets produced a classic'

Despite the result, James was keen to emphasise just how much racing in Monaco means to the series and spectators alike - with Round 7 proving to be one of Formula E's all-time greats, on the first jaunt around the full, historic circuit.

Mercedes-EQ Monaco E-Prix ABB FIA Formula E World Championship

"It's been great to see Formula E return to the streets of Monaco," adds James. "Racing in a place like this is always special, and one of the many reasons that makes this series so unique. This Monaco E-Prix delivered some amazing racing to the fans.

"From a spectators perspective, Monaco certainly didn't disappoint. The race itself was phenomenal and all credit to Formula E for for pulling it off. It really was another classic around the iconic streets of Monte Carlo."

Catch up with the highlights for the best of the action from the 2021 Monaco E-Prix