Berlin E-Prix | FE Qualifying | Mortara takes first Mahindra points ahead of Vandoorne and Vergne

Photo credits: Formula E | Dom Romney
Spread the love

Group A features both Porsche and Mahindra drivers as well as Dennis, Evans, Vergne, Fenestraz, Ticktum, Daruvala and Eriksson, with the latter the first driver to exit the pits ahead of the first qualifying session on the new Berlin layout.

After the first set of attempts Vergne has the early benchmark in 1:03.77s, joined by Eriksson, Mortara and Wehrlein, with many drivers quickly improving, including Da Costa in his team’s home round.

The Mahindra powertrain appears to continue performing well with Mortara and King in the top two spots, leading the way with 5 minutes to go. Daruvala and Da Costa are through to the Duels as well at the moment.

After a quick pit and tyre swap, championship leader Pascal Wehrlein slots in in provisional P1, but on his final attempt the Swiss Mahindra driver, in spite of making contact with the wall, takes back from the Porsche man with a 1:02.619s. Vergne and Daruvala make the cut as well, with reigning champion Dennis starting dead last and latest winner Mitch Evans in P6.

However, the Indian talent will have to take two 20 places grid penalties as he is taking up a new power unit.

Group B sees Van der Linde and Aron as the first drivers to get on track, while the earliest benchmark is set by Jaguar’s Cassidy in 1:02.893s. After the first sets of attempts he is joined in the top 4 by Gunther, Di Grassi and Sette Camara.

Di Grassi goes on top by a very small margin of 0.062s, whereas Barnard and Sette Camara clip the wall one after the other, tearing off a bit on commercial banners.

Gunther puts his Maserati challenger in P4 in spite of close contact with the wall, with Vandoorne in second place and Cassidy third at pit stop time.

Returning Sheldon Van der Linde joins his teammate to the provisional duels, but the heated last attempt sees him bumped out.

Many drivers cycle at the lead due to track evolution, but ultimately Di Grassi is able to return in P1 with a 1:02.610s, alongside Gunther and Vandoorne, who have signed the same time, and Sette Camara.

Former championship leaders Cassidy in P6 and Rowland in P8 are among the big names not advancing to the next stage of qualifying, with Bernard qualifying in P7 in his second Formula E race, outperforming teammate Jake Hughes.

The first quarter final of the day will see Vergne face Wehrlein. The Frenchman started with an advantage of 0.101s. The German closed it to 0.062s by the second sector and to 0.017s in the final, but Vergne advances nevertheless.

Daruvala and Mortara are on next, with the Mahindra driver starting with a 0.300s lead and keeping it on the Maserati driver until the end of the lap.

Photo credits: Formula E | Dom Romney

Vandoorne signs the fastest lap of the weekend so far in1:01.910s to kick out Gunther’s very respectable 1:02.150s.

Di Grassi started behind 0.031s in the all Brazilian Duel with Sette Camara, but the ERT driver managed to close it and move forward to the Semi Finals.

The new German layout really seems to suit the Mahindra powertrains, with three drivers in the Semis sporting that engine.

Mortara started the first Semi Final behind Vergne but was ultimately able to recover enough pace to make the cut to the Final by a very small margin.

Sette Camara and Vandoorne face in the last Semi Final of the day, with the DS Penske driver starting in front by only 0.005s. The Belgian is able to increase his lead to 0.229s throughout the other two sectors

Mortara began the Final duel 0.06s ahead of the DS Penske driver, gap which grew to 0.160s in the second sector and to almost 0.300s in the third. It’s the first pole position of the season for Mahindra, as well as the Indian team’s first three seasonal points.