Techeetah’s Jean-Éric Vergne has secured pole position for the first of the two Hong Kong ePrix races, spinning across the finish line as he exited the final corner.
The Frenchman lost control of his car at the very end of his ‘Super Pole’ lap, but despite this hair-raising moment he was still able to claim top spot in qualifying with a time of 1:03.568.
His time put him provisionally quickest in the five-car shootout for pole, just 0.156 seconds quicker than Audi’s Daniel Abt. The subsequent efforts by Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing) and Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra Racing) weren’t quite enough to deny Vergne the prime starting position on this narrow street circuit.
With Abt demoted to fourth-fastest, the slowest ‘Super Pole’ runner was Heidfeld’s teammate Felix Rosenqvist, who locked up and ran wide at the Turn 1 hairpin.
Defending Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi narrowly missed out on a ‘Super Pole’ berth and will start from sixth place in the second Audi having been edged out by teammate Abt in the preceding group qualifying phase.
Di Grassi’s long-time rival Sébastien Buemi also failed to make the top-five shootout in what was a rather muted performance by the Renault e.dams team. The Swiss driver could manage no better than ninth-fastest behind Oliver Turvey (NIO) and António Félix da Costa (Andretti). Jaguar’s new signing Nelson Piquet Jr. was tenth-fastest.
Buemi’s teammate Nicolas Prost finished the session a lowly 18th-fastest after whacking the barriers at Turn 5 and impaling a sponsorship banner on his car’s front wing assembly. The banner dislodged itself and fell into the path of Dragon Racing’s Jérôme d’Ambrosio as the Belgian driver caught up to the slower Renault.
The incident triggered a brief red flag, and despite the interruption d’Ambrosio still managed to qualify eleventh-fastest. His teammate Neel Jani will start from last place thanks to a grid penalty for a battery change stemming from an accident in FP1. The American team opted against using the sole free change it allowed during the season given Jani had only qualified 17th-fastest to begin with.
|2017 Formula E Hong Kong ePrix – Race 1 ‘Super Pole’ Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|2.||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||1:03.595||+ 0.027|
|3.||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||1:03.597||+ 0.029|
|4.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:03.724||+ 0.156|
|5.||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||1:04.718||+ 1.150|
|2017 Formula E Hong Kong ePrix – Race 1 Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|6.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:03.773||+ 0.497|
|7.||Oliver Turvey||NIO Formula E Team||1:03.881||+ 0.605|
|8.||António Félix da Costa||MS&AD Andretti Formula E||1:03.914||+ 0.638|
|9.||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||1:03.966||+ 0.690|
|10.||Nelson Piquet Jr||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||1:03.993||+ 0.717|
|11.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:04.405||+ 1.129|
|12.||André Lotterer||Techeetah||1:04.423||+ 1.149|
|13.||Kamui Kobayashi||MS&AD Andretti Formula E||1:04.806||+ 1.530|
|14.||Maro Engel||Venturi Formula E Team||1:04.907||+ 1.631|
|15.||Luca Filippi||NIO Formula E Team||1:05.450||+ 2.174|
|16.||Alex Lynn||DS Virgin Racing||1:05.544||+ 2.268|
|17.||Neel Jani^||Dragon Racing||1:05.615||+ 2.339|
|18.||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||1:07.745||+ 4.469|
|19.||Edoardo Mortara||Venturi Formula E Team||1:12.730||+ 9.454|
|20.||Mitch Evans||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||1:19.616||+ 16.340|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 qualifying lap time of 1:03.276 posted by Sam Bird.
^ Post-Qualifying Penalties:
Neel Jani – who provisionally qualified 17th-fastest – will serve a ten-place grid penalty for an unscheduled battery change.
Image via LAT Images
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