Stewards at the 2024 Monaco E-Prix handed down a five-second penalty to Jake Hughes following a collision with Nico Müller on Lap 25 of the race.

Contact was made between the pair at Rascasse, with the incident bringing Müller’s race to a premature end as the ABT driver was put into the wall. Hughes ultimately ended the race P16, the penalty dropping the Brit to finish behind Formula E debutant Taylor Barnard, who stepped in at the last minute to replace an injured Sam Bird.

Speaking to Formula E Zone after the race, Hughes felt that he wasn’t to blame for the incident with Müller. Rather, Hughes believed it was a case of moving under braking on Müller’s behalf. 

“From my side, he left a gap, he didn’t defend,” said Hughes. “There had been multiple times, I would say, during that race where cars were overtaking there, or at least going two wide, so it’s normal to see two cars going side by side through Rascasse in Formula E. 

“He left a space, I put the car half a car length alongside. I’ve seen the replay and he moves in reaction to my move.”

Hughes believed that the incident could have been avoided, had Müller not moved the position of his car when Hughes came up alongside him. 

“If he stays on the line he was trying to take before I try the move, we would have gone through there no problem,” said Hughes. “He sees in the mirror me going for the overtake, he reacts to me, and of course, there’s no space after that. The crash is inevitable.”

Consequently, the McLaren driver added that he felt the five-second penalty he received was unjustified.

“In the end, the penalty they give is for the consequence of the car being in the wall rather than the actual reason for it,” said Hughes.

“I get that it’s the easiest decision to make, to give me the penalty because the car is in the wall and [Müller’s] race is over and I continue and we’re out of the points. 

“So it’s the easiest decision to give, rather than no action. But from my side, it’s a clear case of moving under breaking.” 

Hughes’ penalty followed what had been a tricky Saturday for McLaren, Sam Bird having withdrawn from the day’s events early in the morning after sustaining an injury in FP1. 

Whilst Hughes will look to bounce back at the Berlin E-Prix in two weeks, it remains unclear whether Bird will be fit to race, or whether reserve driver Taylor Barnard will continue to compete in his place.