Sebastien Buemi has claimed pole position for the Monaco ePrix, moving from third fastest in the preliminary qualifying group stages to set the fastest time in the ‘Super Pole’ session.
Buemi’s 53.313-second lap time led Lucas di Grassi by 0.237 seconds with Nelson Piquet Jr in third, meaning that the first three competitors on the grid match the podium from the last running of the Monaco ePrix in 2015.
Behind the leading three on the grid, the fastest two drivers from the group stages – Jean-Éric Vergne and Maro Engel – fell back in Super Pole,; Vergne struggling to get temperature in his tyres on his way to fourth, while Engel brushed the wall.
Buemi’s pole position is the seventh of his Formula E career, but surprisingly – given his dominance this season – his first of the 2016-17 campaign.
For the Swiss driver who won the first three events of the year, he was relieved to have broken his qualifying duck.
“It’s been a long time since we had a pole position and to be honest we’ve worked very hard and couldn’t understand why we were not on the pace, so I’m very happy to convert FP1 pace into a good qualifying,” he said.
Buemi was drawn in the first qualifying group and would be the only competitor who would progress to Super Pole – and indeed start inside the top ten – with Loïc Duval eventually qualifying 12th, while Mitch Evans, Oliver Turvey and António Félix da Costa filling 15th to 17th on the grid.
The second group on circuit fared even worse than the first. Nick Heidfeld was the fastest of these five drivers and will start from eighth place, while Esteban Gutiérrez will start his second ePrix from fourteenth. The remaining three drivers in the group – Adam Carroll, Nicolas Prost and Jérôme d’Ambrosio – ended the session in positions 18th, 19th and 20th respectively, with d’Ambrosio’s time 7.350 seconds off the pace due to an error during his flying lap.
Group three was topped by Engel and di Grassi, with Sam Bird taking tenth place, Stéphane Sarrazin eleventh and Robin Frijns thirteenth. The final group was certainly the most competitive and saw Vergne and Piquet progress while Felix Rosenqvist just missed out on a Super Pole berth, taking sixth in his Mahindra. José María López was not far behind in seventh, while Daniel Abt was slowest in the group but still claimed a top-ten start in ninth place.
|2016-17 Formula E Monaco ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|1.||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||53.313|
|2.||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||53.550||+ 0.237|
|3.||Nelson Piquet Jr||NextEV NIO Formula E Team||53.606||+ 0.293|
|4.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Techeetah||53.756||+ 0.443|
|5.||Maro Engel||Venturi Formula E Team||55.013||+ 1.700|
|2016-17 Formula E Monaco ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|6.||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||53.609||+ 0.323|
|7.||José María López||DS Virgin Racing||53.666||+ 0.380|
|8.||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||53.687||+ 0.401|
|9.||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||53.725||+ 0.439|
|10.||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||53.729||+ 0.443|
|11.||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||53.846||+ 0.560|
|12.||Loïc Duval||Faraday Future Dragon Racing||53.929||+ 0.643|
|13.||Robin Frijns||MS Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||54.034||+ 0.748|
|14.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Techeetah||54.097||+ 0.811|
|15.||Mitch Evans||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||54.115||+ 0.829|
|16.||Oliver Turvey||NextEV NIO Formula E Team||54.522||+ 1.236|
|17.||António Félix da Costa||MS Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||54.631||+ 1.345|
|18.||Adam Carroll||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||55.031||+ 1.745|
|19.||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||55.081||+ 1.795|
|20.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Faraday Future Dragon Racing||1:00.636||+ 7.350|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 qualifying lap time of 53.286 posted by Jean-Éric Vergne.
^ Post-Qualifying Penalties:
Earlier, Buemi was fastest in both practice sessions. The two Renault e.Dams cars of Buemi and Prost were the only two to complete a qualifying simulation lap at the 200kW power level in Practice 1, with the Swiss driver’s 52.795s lap a tick over four-tenths of a second faster than his teammate, and more than half a second faster than Buemi’s pole lap in Monaco for the 2015 event.
The session was brought to a premature end by a red flag for an awkward incident between Turvey and Rosenqvist at the Turn 3 hairpin. Turvey abruptly slowed his NextEV NIO to avoid passing a slow-moving Buemi under yellow flags. This caught the trailing Rosenqvist by surprise and the Swede struck the back of the Mahindra. While it was a messy incident, both car were repaired ahead of the second practice session.
Practice two saw Bird jump to the top of the times with a 52.797s qualifying simulation lap, before Buemi again edged to the top with a 52.729s effort. Lucas di Grassi also broke the sub-53 second barrier to end the session third, while Prost survived a brush with the barriers during the session but could only set the ninth fastest time.
Image via LAT