Jakarta E-Prix 1 – Maximilian Guenther continued his dominant run in Jakarta this weekend to go fastest in qualifying and take his first Formula E pole.
Jake Hughes was the first to emerge as qualifying for race one got underway in Jakarta. There wasn’t a huge rush to head out into the heat early but as the McLaren racer started his first timed lap it was only the two DS Penske cars who hadn’t made an appearance yet.
Hughes had a few lock ups on his opening lap on the still dusty track and put in a 1:11.129 to start the timesheets. The Penske drivers got their first times in just before the halfway point of the session, when drivers are obligated to have a time on the board, with Stoffel Vandoorne going to the top with a 1:09.245, just 0.022 ahead of Jake Dennis with Nick Cassidy a couple of tenths behind. Sacha Fenestraz was in the final duel spot at that point.
As the track quietened down as all but Roberto Merhi returned to the pits, the Mahindra driver had stopped earlier and now had a clear track to set his times on. The others emerged with enough time for a single flyer and in the end it was Dennis who took P1 with a 1:09.013. Both Penske cars made it through, Vandoorne less than a tenth off in P2 while Jean-Eric Vergne was a tenth slower in P3. Championship leader Nick Cassidy was denied a place in the duels as a good lap from ABT Cupra’s Robin Frijns saw him demote the Envision racer by 0.002 seconds.
Sebastien Buemi and Rene Rast were line astern as they headed out as the second group qualifying started. Everyone was on track as they made it back around to the start-finish straight and the first time was a 1:09.304 from Buemi.
At the halfway point Porsche was on top with Pascal Wehrelin having set a 1:08.989 while Maximilian Guenther, who’d gone fastest in both practices, was almost a tenth back P2 ahead of Mitch Evans and Sebastien Buemi.
The track went silent with four minutes to go, Guenther had managed to snatch P1 from Wehrlein at that stage, those two the only ones in the 1:08s so far while there was three and half tenths between them and the rest of the pack. Evans was still P3 while Antonio Felix da Costa had displaced Buemi for P4.
Everyone headed out with enough time for an out lap and a single fast lap. Neither of the top two improved on their times but they didn’t have to as nobody got within a tenth and a half of them. Rast put his McLaren into P3 while Edoardo Mortara, despite missing FP2, made it two Maseratis in the duels by taking P4.
Quarter-finals – Vergne vs Vandoorne, Frijns vs Dennis, Rast vs Wehrlein, Mortara vs Guenther
QF1 – Team battle number one of the duels pitted the Penskes against each other. There wasn’t much to choose from, Vergne having a 0.038 second advantage over the first sector and doubling that over the next sector but Vandoorne equalled him in the final portion to keep the 0.078 seconds.
QF2 – Dennis had more of an advantage over Frijns in sector one than Vergne had over Vandoorne through their whole lap. The Andretti driver continued to open the gap and in the end had almost half a second over the ABT Cupra driver.
QF3 – It was all Wehrlein in the penultimate quarter final, over two tenths in the first sector and the gap just kept widening with Rast over six tenths down at the end of the lap.
QF4 – Team battle number two was also a close fought thing initially with less than a tenth between them in sector one but a big slide for Mortara in sector two saw him lose half a second and despite putting in the fastest sector three of qualifying it wasn’t enough to turn things around and so Guenther will progress.
Semi-finals – Vergne vs Dennis, Wehrlein vs Guenther
SF1 – While Vergne put in a tidy start of the lap, Dennis blasted through his to go nearly three tenths up, he extended the gap over the middle part of the lap and while Vergne did close out the lap better he wasn’t able to make up the three and a half tenths he’d need.
SF2 – Close in sector one with Guenther just ahead but after that there wasn’t any competition with the Maserati racer pulling over two tenths ahead in sector two and taking it to 0.375 as he closed the lap out.
Final – Dennis vs Guenther
It started with just over a tenth’s advantage to Guenther in sector one but the Maserati racer has been on form so far this weekend and Dennis wasn’t able to break that run. The Andretti racer was slower than his semi-final time but there didn’t seem to be anything he could’ve done to stop the charging German who put in a faster time in each part of qualifying to end with a 1:08.141.
Wehrlein will start ahead of Vergne on the second row while Vandoorne and Mortara will share row three. Frijns will line up P7 ahead of Rast while the rest of Guenther’s Group B will take the remaining odd positions so Nico Mueller will take P9 and have Cassidy beside him in P10.