Valencia E-Prix: Vandoorne pips da Costa to pole by 0.28s

Mercedes snared its third Formula E pole of the 2021 season as Stoffel Vandoorne topped qualifying ahead of the first Valencia E-Prix while points leader Jaguar faltered. 

Valencia E-Prix: Vandoorne pips da Costa to pole by 0.28s
Listen to this article

The Silver Arrow machine has now been on pole in Berlin, Diriyah, Rome and Valencia - the most recent four events - with Vandoorne leading the way in Spain by three hundredths of a second. 

Vandoorne, winner of Rome race two, progressed through from the opening group run to book his place in the top-six superpole shootout where he set a 1m26.494s effort. 

His run looked scruffy and he was marginally up against the benchmark of reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa in the second sector.  

But Vandoorne, who clipped the wall on his preparation lap, delivered superbly through the final section of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo to secure his fourth Formula E pole position. 

Da Costa was knocked to the outside of the front row of the grid, having held on strongly from running second in superpole, the DS Techeetah driver overcoming oversteer through the high-speed opening corner to secure his place in the shootout. 

Second Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries, victor in the opening race of the season, limited the damaged owed to a five-place grid penalty by bagging the third-fastest time. 

As a legacy of his final-lap collision with Sam Bird in the second Rome bout, de Vries will drop to eighth as BMW Andretti scored its best grid position of the season. 

Its driver Maximilian Gunther, who set the pace in free practice, fell short of Vandoorne by some 0.449s when the top 10 in the group stages had been split by only 0.075s. 

Group stage pacesetter Alexander Lynn could not stitch together a strong enough final sector to build on the promise of the opening half of his lap for Mahindra Racing. 

He posted the fifth-best time in superpole beating only the scruffy effort of Nissan e.dams racer Sebastien Buemi.  

Despite beating the time set by Lynn through the opening sector of their respective group four runs, Andre Lotterer endured a slower middle sector to become the first driver to miss out on progressing into the superpole shootout and he crossed the timing line for seventh. 

The permanent circuit cut back on the extreme levels of track evolution usually seen during Formula E group qualifying, which meant Venturi Racing driver Norman Nato could only run to eighth fastest - despite scoring second on the grid for race two in Rome last time out. 

Oliver Rowland’s usual one-lap pace was replaced by a fairly subdued run to ninth for Nissan e.dams as Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein - the only driver to a score points in each race so far this season - rounded out the top 10 from his opening group one performance. 

Rome polesitter Nick Cassidy looked on course for another superpole appearance after setting the fastest overall first sector only to drop off the boil in the final part of the lap to go 11th. 

Alexander Sims, fresh from a second place in Rome, ran to 12th and Jean-Eric Vergne struggled against teammate da Costa to net 13th ahead of BMW Andretti racer Jake Dennis. 

It was a tough session for championship-leading team Jaguar Racing and its duo of Sam Bird and Mitch Evans, who lead the drivers’ points in 1-2, as they were off the pace in group one.  

Evans mustered 18th and Bird was a further 0.2s in arrears and will line up in 21st ahead of 2016-17 champion and Audi racer Lucas di Grassi. 

Qualifying results:

shares
comments

Related video

Valencia E-Prix: Gunther sets the pace in practice for BMW
Previous article

Valencia E-Prix: Gunther sets the pace in practice for BMW

Next article

Vandoorne loses Valencia FE pole for tyre rules infringement

Vandoorne loses Valencia FE pole for tyre rules infringement
Load comments
Eight things to watch in Formula E's 2022 season Prime

Eight things to watch in Formula E's 2022 season

In the final season of Formula E's outgoing Gen-2 car and reigning champion team Mercedes, famous and infamous rookies, a dose of qualifying meritocracy, new cities and under-pressure Porsche will be sure to keep things interesting as the 2022 season kicks off in Saudi Arabia this weekend

Formula E
Jan 27, 2022
Why Vandoorne is poised to deliver Mercedes a perfect FE sign-off Prime

Why Vandoorne is poised to deliver Mercedes a perfect FE sign-off

As Mercedes embarks on its last Formula E season this weekend, Stoffel Vandoorne is targeting a title that has so far proved elusive in his time with the team he joined for its soft launch as HWA in 2018. After teammate Nyck de Vries won last year, the Belgian is confident of writing the perfect final chapter to his electric story with the manufacturer

Formula E
Jan 27, 2022
Why Maserati's shift to Formula E is a win for both sides Prime

Why Maserati's shift to Formula E is a win for both sides

Maserati will make a full-factory return to racing, joining the Formula E grid in 2023 with a view to electrifying its road car portfolio. In that regard it makes sense for Maserati - but it's also a win for the series as it seeks to rebound from losing three of its heavyweight German giants in the space of a few months

Formula E
Jan 11, 2022
The fundamental questions facing a Formula E junior series Prime

The fundamental questions facing a Formula E junior series

As Formula E prepares to enter its new Gen3 era, many have pondered the prospect of its existing machines continuing in a feeder category. But before such a programme could be embarked on, there are several important questions that must be satisfactorily answered.

Formula E
Jan 4, 2022
De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2 Prime

De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was wide open until the final race after its most unpredictable season yet. Eventual champion Nyck de Vries explains why this made his title-winning experience such a different experience to conquering F2 in 2019

Formula E
Dec 7, 2021
Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong Prime

Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong

Formula E welcomes a mix of past, present and future for the 2021-22 season. The old guard facing off against a sprinkling of newcomers, a fresh qualifying format amid a sporting rules shake-up and a range of minor tweaks to the existing all-electric machines are all subplots to the final campaign before the next generation arrives

Formula E
Dec 3, 2021
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