NEOM McLaren headed to Monaco off the back of a double non-score and by far its worst weekend yet in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with Jake Hughes retiring in the opener and managing just 18th in race two, while Rene Rast steered to 17th and 13th in the double-header.
Hughes fired things off to the best possible start on Saturday morning in Monte Carlo, as he inhereted Julius Baer Pole Position following fellow Duels finalist Sacha Fenestraz following a penalty for overpower the Nissan driver.
The Brit started strongly but was unable to run with those around him, despite being able to live with their average speeds and energy levels until the late-race Safety Car turned things into a half-dozen lap sprint finish. The title contenders ahead with Porsche and Jaguar power, ultimately, were too hooked up for the improved Nissan-powered McLaren driver to live with.
“Overall, it’s a strong result for the team, finishing P5 to get the points in Monaco," said Hughes. "You’ll always be disappointed if you qualify on pole and then can’t finish it off in the race with a podium, but we’ve secured three valuable points from today’s qualifying session too.
"The racing we are seeing at the moment is competitive and aggressive so surviving the race alone is a positive. We now move on to Jakarta where we’ll be looking to be as strong as we have been this weekend in Monaco.”
Team Principal Ian James was pleased with the performance - and a landmark Monaco pole - but feels there's more to come despite the team's improvements in the Principality.
“Monaco is always a very special place to race and the pole Jake achieved is a real milestone for the team. It was also great to see three Nissan-powered cars at the front of the grid. The only negative was not getting things right for Rene in his qualifying group.
"We can also see that there is still performance to be found in the overall package and we’ll continue to push for improvements throughout the remainder of this season. Next stop Jakarta.”
Rast came into contact with Andre Lotterer (Avalanche Andretti) early in the race which saw the latter forced into retiring. The NEOM McLaren driver was unable to make up lost ground and wound up 17th.
The perils of qualifying down the order in such a tightly-packed field split by little over a second.
“It wasn’t my day today," said Rast. "I missed pace in qualifying, resulting in my starting position being in the midfield which was disappointing. I tried to save a lot of energy at the start of the race but with everything going on around me it made things difficult.
"Before the race, we were confident to get a top 10 finish, but we were unfortunate with how things turned out on track today. As a team we will work hard and turn our focus onto the double-header in Jakarta.”