Pascal Wehrlein claimed his first Formula E pole position in qualifying for the Mexico City ePrix.
Having been the second-last car on track in ‘Super Pole’, Wehrlein’s 59.347-second lap time could not be bettered by Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland, handing the German his first Formula E pole in just his third event in the championship, and back-to-back poles in Mexico for his Mahindra Racing team.
Despite being the fastest driver in regular qualifying, Rowland could only manage fourth in ‘Super Pole’, with Lucas di Grassi 0.306 seconds behind Wehrlien taking second place. Felipe Massa ended his first ‘Super Pole’ session in third, a further 0.038 seconds back from di Grassi. António Félix da Costa will start from fifth place for BMW i Andretti, while Nissan e.Dams were the only team to feature both cars in Super Pole – Sébastien Buemi backing up Rowland’s efforts with sixth on the grid.
Just missing out on ‘Super Pole’ was the second BMW of Alexander Sims, four-thousandths of a seconds behind Buemi’s top six cut-off time, while reigning champion Jean-Éric Vergne will start eighth. The top ten on the grid is completed by Edoardo Mortara in ninth for Venturi, and NIO’s Oliver Turvey in tenth.
Championship leader Sam Bird was the biggest omission from not only ‘Super Pole’, but qualifying as a whole. The Brit stopped on track at Turn 7 early in his group with a major issue in the rear of his Envision Virgin Racing car. Unable to set a lap time, Bird will be forced to start from 22nd and last place on the grid.
Bird was not the only key contender to struggle however, with his nearest championship rival – and Wehrlein’s Mahindra teammate – Jérôme d’Ambrosio only able to qualify in 19th place, while last year’s Mexico City winner Daniel Abt could only manage 21st on the grid.
With Nelson Piquet Jr in 11th and Mitch Evans 18th, Jaguar are one of four teams to have both of their drivers buried in the second half of the grid. Dragon Racing fill positions 14 and 15 with Felipe Nasr (on his Formula E debut) and José María López respectively, while Gary Paffett will start 16th and Stoffel Vandoorne 20th for HWA Racelab. With Robin Frijns only able to muster 17th on the grid on the back of Bird’s failure, it was also a session to forget for Envision Virgin Racing.
|2019 ABB Formula E Mexico City ePrix – ‘Super Pole’ Qualifying Results|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Pascal Wehrlein||Mahindra Racing||59.347|
|2.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||59.653||+ 0.306|
|3.||Felipe Massa||Venturi Formula E Team||59.695||+ 0.348|
|4.||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.dams||59.808||+ 0.461|
|5.||António Félix da Costa||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||59.819||+ 0.472|
|6.||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.dams||59.949||+ 0.602|
|2019 ABB Formula E Mexico City ePrix – Preliminary Qualifying Results|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|7.||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||59.536||+ 0.189|
|8.||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||59.802||+ 0.209|
|9.||Edoardo Mortara||Venturi Formula E Team||59.935||+ 0.342|
|10.||Oliver Turvey||NIO Formula E Team||59.936||+ 0.343|
|11.||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||59.959||+ 0.366|
|12.||André Lotterer||DS Techeetah||1:00.050||+ 0.457|
|13.||Tom Dillmann||NIO Formula E Team||1:00192.||+ 0.599|
|14.||Felipe Nasr||Geox Dragon Racing||1:00.210||+ 0.617|
|15.||José María López||Geox Dragon Racing||1:00.293||+ 0.700|
|16.||Gary Paffett||HWA Racelab||1:00.340||+ 0.747|
|17.||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||1:00.375||+ 0.782|
|18.||Mitch Evans||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||1:00.424||+ 0.831|
|19.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||1:00.455||+ 0.862|
|20.||Stoffel Vandoorne||HWA Racelab||1:00.844||+ 1.251|
|21.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||1:00.936||+ 1.343|
|DNQ.||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||no time|
*Denotes gap to fastest preliminary qualifying time of 59.593 posted by Oliver Rowland
Earlier, Abt was fastest in opening practice, setting a 59.319-second lap to head Mortara (+0.078s) and Sims (+0.120s). Several drivers missed braking points and ran off circuit throughout the session, but ultimately all 22 drivers went under the previous lap record set by di Grassi in the first generation Formula E car last season.
Practice 2 was topped by da Costa, lowering the lap record to 58.963s in the process. Massa followed in second place, 0.175 seconds behind, with Buemi (+ 0.285s) in third. The biggest incident of the session occurred when Oliver Turvey clipped the Turn 15 chicane, with damage to the front corner of the Brit’s NIO forcing and end to his session. The half-hour session ended with the top 18 cars – down to Techeetah’s André Lotterer – within one second of da Costa’s lap time.
Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship