Berlin E-Prix 1 – Sebastien Buemi sets a new Formula E pole record after besting Sam Bird in an all-Jaguar powered final duel.
The Maserati of Edoardo Mortara was the first to hit the track as all the drivers in the group headed out of the pits as soon as the session started. The Swiss racer was the first with a time, a 1:09.729, one of the faster warm up laps before his first proper lap was a 1:06.654.
At the halfway point of the session, as the cars headed back to the pits to regroup before the final runs, it was Stoffel Vandoorne in P1 with a 1:05.978 with the Envisions of Sebastien Buemi and Nick Cassidy, along with Mitch Evans joining him in rest of the coveted top four slots.
Andre Lotterer was on a slightly different schedule, remaining on track when the others returned to their garages and then ducking briefly into the pits just as the others were heading out.
There wasn’t much improvement at the end with lap times coming in similar to what had already been set, the notable exception to that though was NIO 333’s Sergio Sette Camara who jumped into P4, knocking Evans out of the duels and joining Vandoorne, Buemi and Cassidy.
Sam Bird was the first out in the second group, the McLarens of Rene Rast and Jake Hughes holding in the pits for an extra half a lap before joining the other nine cars on track. The first group B time recorded was a leisurely 1:11.113 from the Jaguar racer but he dropped it down to a 1:06.581 on his second go around.
Despite being one of the last to leave the pits, Rast was the first to head back in around the halfway point, Hughes being the last to return, and at that point Bird was on top with a 1:06.018 and deciding that a second fast lap was the better one as it seemed to allow the heat enough time to soak into the tyres properly. Maximilian Guenther, who was fastest in FP2, Dan Ticktum and Jake Dennis were all sitting in the progression spots along with the Jaguar driver.
Bird was the first to take the chequered flag, improving to a 1:05.975, but he didn’t need to as no one would have beaten him anyways. As in group A the early times were the important ones as there wasn’t much improvement at the end so Bird, Guenther, Ticktum and Dennis remained in that order and will progress.
Quarter-finals – Cassidy vs Buemi, Sette Camara vs Vandoorne, Ticktum vs Guenther, Dennis vs Bird
QF1 It was an all-Envision challenge to start the duels off but there was quite a difference in the opening sector with Buemi having a much better time of it than Cassidy who went slightly wider than his teammate at the first corner. The Kiwi was the faster over the rest of the lap but couldn’t manage to pull all the time back and ended 0.078 seconds slower than Buemi.
QF2 There was a very similar gap over the first sector in the second duel with Vandoorne taking the advantage. While the two put in similar sector times through the remainder of the duel the reigning champion was still the quicker and will head to the semi-finals.
QF3 There was nothing in it in the third duel, Ticktum and Guenther neck and neck, with the German having only the slightest of margin over his rival. In the end though Ticktum kept it clean while Guenther had a big lock up in the final sector and that sealed the deal for the NIO 333 racer.
QF4 The slightest of advantages to Bird over Dennis at the start of the lap and while the Andretti racer was the faster in the second and third sectors, it will be the Jaguar driver that progresses by only 0.061 seconds.
Semi-finals – Buemi vs Vandoorne, Ticktum vs Bird
SF1 Buemi was a tenth quicker over the opening sector but Vandoorne pulled it back in the second. It all came down to the final few corners and the advantage was back with the Envision racer and he will progress after defeating Vandoorne by 0.110 seconds.
SF2 Bird was almost two tenths ahead of Ticktum through the opening portion of the lap and while the two put in very similar time in the middle sector it was the NIO 333 racer who was the quicker there and over the end of the lap. It didn’t matter much though as Ticktum couldn’t close the gap fully and he will start on row two while Bird will duel Buemi for pole.
Final – Bird vs Buemi
It was Jaguar vs Jaguar powered Envision for the glory of pole. Buemi had the better first sector, nearly two tenths better than Bird, he extended that lead in the middle sector and a few slight mistakes allowed Bird to be the quicker at the end but it was the customer team who sealed the deal despite the Swiss racer not being happy with his lap.
Buemi was delighted when he was told he’d taken the place especially after a busy few weeks – injuring his hand when in a clash during the Sao Paulo race and having been slightly late arriving in Berlin after his third child was born on Tuesday. It’s season two champion’s second pole of the year, the first happening at the first of the Diriyah races and that brought him level with Vergne at 15 poles but today’s one will put the Swiss driver out in front to hold the record on his own.
Vandoorne will start ahead of Ticktum on row two as the Penske driver had the faster semi-final time while Dennis will start P5 after he set the fastest lap of those who didn’t progress in the quarters and he’ll have Cassidy alongside him. Sette Camara and Guenther will share the fourth row. Due to Buemi taking P1 it’ll be Group A in the remaining odd positions to those in that group so Evans will take P9 ahead of Vergne.