Sébastien Buemi has taken the perfect first step towards a final challenge for the Formula E Championship by taking three points for pole position for the first race in the London ePrix, ahead of Jérôme d’Ambrosio and Lucas di Grassi.
The result reduces Buemi’s gap from third in the championship to leader Nelson Piquet Jr to 20 points, and also eliminates Sam Bird from championship contention as the Briton needed to take the maximum 60 points from the weekend to claim the title.
On track in the fourth qualifying group, a 1:24.648s lap secured Buemi pole, despite brushing the wall at the final corner. Also in the same group, d’Ambrosio set a time 0.456 seconds slower, but enough to bump di Grassi’s provisional pole time set in the first group to third.
Keeping the three key championship contenders close for the race, Piquet Jr will start from fourth.
Another major talking point from the first morning in Battersea Park is the modifications that have been made to Turn 1 following the first practice session. A severe bump at the apex of the corner caused all cars to get airborne, ultimately causing a suspension failure for d’Ambrosio, which in turn leading to a red flag in the opening session. Following a post-session discussion, TecPro barriers have been placed at the apex of the corner, changing the line of attack for drivers and forcing the cars around the bump.
With the corner now narrowed, no overtaking will be permitted at the corner and a yellow flag will constantly be shown (although no reduction in speed will be required). Furthermore, this afternoon’s race will begin behind the safety car – reducing the possibility of gaining places off the start and making Buemi’s pole position even more important.
Following the first practice red flag, a flurry of fastest laps resulted in Venturi’s Stéphane Sarrazin topping the session with a 1:26.450 lap, with di Grassi in second, Piquet in sixth and Buemi in eighth.
Practice two saw Andretti’s Jean-Éric Vergne’s 1:25.351 lap with a few minutes remaining stood up from challenges from Piquet in second and Buemi’s edams.Renault team mate Nicolas Prost in third.
Di Grassi ended the session in fifth, 1.007 seconds slower than Vergne, while Buemi was one place behind, a further 0.075 seconds back.
The FIA Formula E London ePrix race will start at 16:00 local time (UTC+01:00), with the three drivers to receive FanBoost to be announced ten minutes before race start.
|2015 Formula E London ePrix – Race 1 Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Sébastien Buemi||Team e.dams Renault||1:24.648|
|2.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||1:25.104||+ 0.456|
|3.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||1:25.105||+ 0.457|
|4.||Nelson Piquet Jr||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:25.144||+ 0.496|
|5.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||1:25.182||+ 0.534|
|6.||Nicolas Prost||Team e.dams Renault||1:25.258||+ 0.610|
|7.||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:25.829||+ 1.181|
|8.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:25.879||+ 1.231|
|9.||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:25.894||+ 1.246|
|10.||Salvador Durán||Amlin Aguri||1:25.964||+ 1.316|
|11.||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||1:25.988||+ 1.340|
|12.||Nick Heidfeld||VENTURI Formula E Team||1:26.128||+ 1.480|
|13.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||1:26.302||+ 1.654|
|14.||Stéphane Sarrazin||VENTURI Formula E Team||1:26.318||+ 1.670|
|15.||Jarno Trulli||Trulli Formula E Team||1:26.852||+ 2.204|
|16.||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:27.160||+ 2.512|
|17.||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||1:27.208||+ 2.560|
|18.||Sakon Yamamoto||Amlin Aguri||1:27.456||+ 2.808|
|19.||Alex Fontana||Trulli Formula E Team||1:28.083||+ 3.435|
|20.||Fabio Leimer||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:28.152||+ 3.504|
Image via Formula E Championship