Berlin E-Prix: Vergne leads DS Techeetah 1-2 in qualifying

Jean-Eric Vergne led a remarkable DS Techeetah 1-2 in qualifying for the 2021 Berlin E-Prix Formula E season finale as Mercedes’ points leader Nyck de Vries endured a torrid session. 

Vergne, the pacesetter in the group stages at the Tempelhof Airport venue after his run from group three, which was fastest in all three sectors, was the last car to run in superpole. 

The two-time title winner, currently 12th in the points, lost four hundredths of a second to teammate Antonio Felix da Costa, who was quickest after his superpole lap, in sector one. 

But Vergne turned that small deficit into a minor 0.017s advantage through the middle part of the lap and then completed his 1m06.227s effort to nab a 13th Formula E pole by 0.073s. 

That denied a hat-trick of Berlin poles for defending champion da Costa, but the Portuguese still shocked by converting his unfavoured group one position into a superpole appearance. 

Lucas di Grassi ran to third as Audi begins its farewell weekend in the championship, the Brazilian another 0.127s in arrears of da Costa as Edoardo Mortara led a strong charge from Venturi Racing.  

The Mexico race winner was just 0.015s adrift of di Grassi, having converted his group two running order, and pipped fifth-starting teammate Norman Nato, who is fighting to be resigned by Venturi Racing for the 2022 season. 

Sebastien Buemi, enduring an uncharacteristically slow season for Nissan e.dams, made it through to superpole but was off in all three sectors, including shipping half a second in the middle loop, to land sixth place and wind up almost eight tenths off the pace.  

The group four contenders seemed to stumble across better conditions as both Nato and Buemi, who set the fastest first sector in group qualifying, had bolted into the top six at the last throw of the dice. 

Their late climbs to second and fifth in the pre-superpole shootout came at the expense of free practice pacesetter Jake Dennis and then Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans.  

Dennis opted for a bold strategy in group one, dispensing with any kind of banker lap on the abrasive concrete to not increase the risk of overheating his rear tyres in the hot conditions. 

That initially gained him a place in superpole, but he will now start eighth behind Evans, the Kiwi progressing soundly from his group two run but missing the superpole cutoff by 0.013s. 

Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein ran to ninth place, with BMW Andretti racer Maximilian Gunther overcaming a slight glance with the concrete barriers to complete the top 10. 

Oliver Rowland, who enters his final weekend as a Nissan e.dams driver, ran to 11th amid complaints of a lack of rear grip due to a drop off for the group three qualifiers in the heat. 

Sam Bird was a subdued 12th after his group one run, but the Jaguar Racing driver will drop to 15th thanks to a three-place grid penalty for causing a collision in the second London race. 

An understeering Audi for Rene Rast did not stop him from beating rookie Nick Cassidy as Andre Lotterer and Alexander Sims felt the damage of the slower group three conditions and could only manage 15th and 16th ahead of an impressive Tom Blomqvist for NIO 333.  

Points leader Nyck de Vries was way down the order as teams’ title contender Mercedes endured a torrid session at the site of its first-ever Formula E race victory. 

De Vries was 0.334s off the pace, especially shipping time in the final sector, having opted for a preparation lap prior to his full power flier, and landed 19th ahead of Oliver Turvey. 

Worse still, teammate Stoffel Vandoorne’s supposed group three advantage came to nothing as he was behind Alex Lynn in only 22nd place. 

Envision Virgin Racing driver Robin Frijns, second in the table and six points adrift of de Vries, ran well deep into the final corner of his group one run at a cost of half a second. 

He will line up 23rd ahead only of Dragon Penske Autosport newcomer Joel Eriksson.

Berlin E-Prix: Qualifying results:

shares
comments
Berlin E-Prix: BMW's Dennis remains on top in second practice
Previous article

Berlin E-Prix: BMW's Dennis remains on top in second practice

Next article

DS Techeetah to employ team orders after Berlin FE front row lockout

DS Techeetah to employ team orders after Berlin FE front row lockout
Load comments
The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams Prime

The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams

Electing not to share data with its competitive customer team would have been a straightforward means of gaining an edge on at least one of Mercedes' Formula E rivals last season. But by reciprocating the relationship forged under its initial HWA guise, when it was a customer to Venturi, both teams have reaped the rewards

Formula E
Nov 30, 2021
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Prime

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

Formula E
Nov 29, 2021
How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself Prime

How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself

OPINION: Few figures in racing today divide opinion like Dan Ticktum. The Formula 2 race winner now has the chance to wipe his professional slate clean with his move into Formula E, but it won't be easy at the squad which has brought up the rear for the past three years. Here are the three key criteria he must meet to make a lasting impression on the series.

Formula E
Nov 27, 2021
How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E Prime

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls

Formula E
Nov 26, 2021
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Prime

Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive

OPINION: Circuit racing has traditionally favoured front- or rear-wheel-drive setups, eschewing the equal distribution of power. But for Formula E and other electric-powered series, our columnist believes it’s a perfect fit.

Formula E
Oct 13, 2021
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Prime

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21 Prime

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was one without a narrative for much of the season, with no single car or driver able to break away from the pack. That makes choosing a top 10 especially difficult, particularly as the qualifying format meant some worthy performers were unable to enjoy their day in the sun.

Formula E
Sep 19, 2021
How Mercedes and de Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way Prime

How Mercedes and de Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way

When Nyck de Vries dominated the first race of what would be the most controversial and unpredictable Formula E season to date, it looked as though Mercedes was in for a cakewalk. But as the campaign wore on, the path to a title double became increasingly rocky. Neither driver or team would be assured of the crown until the closing stages of the very final race on a weekend of struggle in Berlin.

Formula E
Sep 17, 2021