Sunday, July 21, 2024

Monaco E-Prix: Maximilian Günther Tops Free Practice 2 for Maserati

Maserati MSG Racing‘s home weekend has started in sublime fashion, after Maximilian Günther topped Free Practice 2 at the Monaco E-Prix just an hour ahead of qualifying. Elsewhere, there were concerns for the top two in the Drivers’ Championship, with Pascal Wehrlein having finished the session in fourteenth with Nick Cassidy in twenty-first.

Just an hour following the conclusion of Free Practice 1 and it was already time for Free Practice 2, highlighting how jam-packed the schedule was at the Circuit de Monaco for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Unlike in the opening session of the day, the sun had fully risen for the start of Free Practice 2, with the weather having been glorious.

With qualifying following the session, all the drivers were quick to get out onto the legendary circuit, most notably all four Porsche-powered cars after they lost significant time in Free Practice 1 to diagnose a software issue. Mitch Evans topped the first practice session after posting a 1:30.361, with the likelihood being that the Kiwi’s time would be comfortably beaten due to the warmer track conditions.

It was Evans who topped the second practice session following the opening ten minutes; however, his leading time was still four-tenths slower than what he managed early in the morning. As the session hit its halfway point, though, the fastest lap from the opening practice was finally beaten, as Sébastian Buemi went to the top before rookie Sacha Fenestraz posted a 1:29.788.

Apart from Fenestraz and Buemi’s fastest laps, the opening twenty minutes of Free Practice 2 were somewhat sluggish, with it appearing that the sides were focusing on energy management for this afternoon’s race. Buemi improved on his best lap with eleven minutes remaining in the session after setting a solid 1:29.679, putting him a tenth clear of Fenestraz.

With nine minutes remaining, Jake Dennis jumped to third after going just under two-tenths slower than Buemi, following a quiet morning for the British driver. Third quickly became fourth for Dennis, as Evans went back to the top once again on a 1:29.584, highlighting how much confidence the Jaguar TCS Racing driver currently has after his recent sublime form.

One driver who wasn’t feeling confident in Monaco was Berlin Race Two winner and championship contender Cassidy, who sat almost two-seconds behind Evans’ time after complaining of significant vibrations whilst braking, something for Envision Racing to potentially be concerned about. As the session entered its final three minutes some strong lap times were beginning to be set, with Günther having gone fastest on a 1:29.488, much to Maserati’s delight

The German was quickly replaced at the top by Dennis, though, who went 0.075s faster than the Maserati driver. As the chequered flag was waved it was Evans who went back to the front on a 1:29.276; however, Günther quickly pushed the Kiwi back to second after going just seven-thousandths of a second faster. The German ended the session fastest for the home team ahead of qualifying, with Evans and Dennis being close behind in second and third.

With qualifying being in just an hour, could Maserati be looking at an unbelievable pole position at their home race? Qualifying gets underway at 09:40 GMT.

Full Results to Follow…