Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist will start the Mexico City ePrix from pole position, prevailing in a Super Pole session that also saw António Félix da Costa excluded for an underweight car.

Having been the fifth-fastest driver in preliminary qualifying, Alex Lynn was first on track in Super Pole, setting a lap time that would be good enough for third-fastest. Unfortunately for the Brit, he – along with DS Virgin Racing team mate Sam Bird – have pre-existing 10-place grid penalties for completing a second gear box change for the year ahead of the event. Consequently, Lynn will start from 13th place.

Oliver Turvey was the second car to run, setting a 1:02.172 lap time. Initially the fourth-fastest time of Super Pole, Turvey will instead start on the front row in Mexico for the second year in a row after da Costa and Lynn have their penalties applied.

Da Costa set a lap time that would have placed the Andretti driver on the front row, however in post-session scrutineering the car was found to be below the minimum weight and the lap time was excluded. Da Costa’s regular qualifying performance still stands, so he will still start the race from fourth on the grid.

Rosenqvist was next on circuit, the Swede’s 1:01.645 lap moving him to the front, two-tenths of a second faster than da Costa. When Sébastien Buemi, who had pipped Rosenqvist in regular qualifying by just 0.008 seconds, locked up at the start of what was a messy lap, Rosenqvist’s fifth Formula E Pole was confirmed. Buemi’s lap was ultimately the slowest of the session, however the former champion will start from third on the grid.

By claiming pole, Rosenqvist closes the gap on championship leader Jean-Éric Vergne. Vergne was seventh-fastest in regular qualifying and will start sixth, just behind Daniel Abt, while fellow championship combatant Sam Bird was ninth-fastest. With Vergne and Bird both missing Super Pole, there is now a prime opportunity available for Rosenqvist to regain the championship lead in today’s race with the bonus points earned for claiming pole position closing him to within two points of the outright lead.

Nelson Piquet Jr, Sam Bird, Nick Heidfeld and André Lotterer round out the top ten on the grid, while reigning champion Lucas di Grassi – who had earlier topped both practice sessions – was twelfth fastest, but he too has a grid penalty for taking on a new inverter. The Brazilian will need a strong race to commence his recovery from a horror start of the season so far.

Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler - 2018 Mexico City ePrix

Lucas di Grassi’s disastrous season as reigning champion took a further hit with confirmation he has a 10-place grid penalty for an inverter change. The Brazilian is still to score a single point in the 2017-18 season.

2018 ABB Formula E Championship Mexico City ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap*
1. Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Racing 1:01.645
2. António Félix da Costa^ MS&AD Andretti Formula E 1:01.852 + 0.207
3. Alex Lynn^ DS Virgin Racing Citroën 1:02.014 + 0.369
4. Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team 1:02.172 + 0.527
5. Sébastien Buemi Renault e.Dams 1:02.510 + 0.865
2018 ABB Formula E Championship Mexico City ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap*
6. Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:01.885 + 0.217
7. Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah Renault 1:01.962 + 0.294
8. Nelson Piquet Jr Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:01.964 + 0.296
9. Sam Bird^ DS Virgin Racing Citroën 1:02.007 + 0.339
10. Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing 1:02.023 + 0.355
11. André Lotterer Techeetah Renault 1:02.057 + 0.389
12. Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:02.079 + 0.411
13. Maro Engel Venturi Formula E Team 1:02.091 + 0.423
14. Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 1:02.135 + 0.467
15. José María López Dragon Racing Penske 1:02.264 + 0.596
16. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dragon Racing Penske 1:02.360 + 0.692
17. Nicolas Prost Renault e.Dams 1:02.377 + 0.709
18. Tom Blomqvist MS&AD Andretti Formula E 1:02.443 + 0.775
19. Luca Filippi NIO Formula E Team 1:02.508 + 0.840
20. Edoardo Mortara Venturi Formula E Team 1:03.416 + 1.748

* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 qualifying lap time of 1:01.668 posted by Sébastien Buemi.

^ Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • António Félix da Costa – who provisionally qualified 2nd-fastest – will serve a two-place grid penalty for his car being underweight
  • Alex Lynn – who provisionally qualified 3rd-fastest – will serve a 10-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change
  • Sam Bird – who provisionally qualified 9th-fastest – will serve a 10-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change
  • Lucas di Grassi – who provisionally qualified 12th-fastest – will serve a 10-place grid penalty for an unscheduled inverter change

Earlier, di Grassi set a 1:01.158 lap in Practice 1 to shave over a second from the lap record set by Turvey last year, leading over half the field who bettered the previous benchmark. Edoardo Mortara was second fastest for Venturi, with Vergne on third.

Practice 2 saw Di Grassi at the top again, his 1:01.203 lap slightly slower than his pace from the earlier session. Rosenqvist was the closest challenger to the Brazilian, 0.239 seconds back, with Jaguar’s Mitch Evans in third. The session was red flagged late following a crash for Alex Lynn. The Briton was simulating a qualifying lap on the full 200kW power mode, but found the wall after taking a wide line and losing control.

Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Professional motorsport engineer and all-round tech head.