Formula E | Qualifying Report: a dominating Jaguar in Rome

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It’s qualifying time in Rome! This session will set the grid for the first race, which will be held this afternoon, and starting from the Top 5 will be crucial in order to fight for the win. There won’t be much room for mistakes as Rome is the second longest circuit in the calendar, with laps taking up to 1:40s, allowing only few laps in the 12 minutes of group running.

The first group of. drivers coming out on track features the Andretti, the DS Penske and the NIO drivers plus Vergne, Günther, Bird, Fenestraz and Muller. Fenestraz puts in the first timed lap in 1:40.560s.

Vandoorne didn’t get his first timed lap in as he hit the wall at Turn 7, breaking his front wing.

Five minutes in, Dennis is on top with a 1:39.618, with Bird, Fenestraz and Lotterer making the cut as everyone returns to the pits for fresher tyres.

In order to avoid traffic, Wehrlein leaves the pits earlier then the others, managing to complete a lap alone. However, it’s not enough to get through to the Duels, as he slots in P6.

In the final heated moments of the session Sette Camara ran wide at Turn 7 in the runoff, issueing a yellow flag which affected Jake Dennis’s final attempt. However, his effort is still enough to get him through to the Duels in P3.

Nissan’s Fenestraz was the fastest man out for Group 1 in 1:38.912s, and moves on to the next round with Bird, Dennis and Günther. Championship contender Pascal Wehrlein was pushed out by Dennis’s latest effort.

Vandoorne, Bird and Dennis are under investigation for failing to slow under yellow flags, so it’s still to be seen if the drivers competing in the Duels will actually be those.

In the meantime, Group 2 is already under way. After the first round of attempts and signing this morning the fastest Rome lap ever, Evans is leading from Buemi, and the McLaren drivers, both again out on fast laps.

Di Grassi went out at Turn 7 for what has become a recurring theme of struggling in the braking zone, as news come in that Vandoorne and Bird’s lap time have been deleted, allowing Wehrlein to make it to the Duels, with no further investigation for Dennis’s lap.

A red flag was issued after Hughes crashed in the fastest part of the track between Turn 5 and 6, leaving him a passenger in his own car. The flag didn’t allow Mortara and Cassidy to put in their final attempts, technically leaving them out of contention.

Through the Duels then move Evans, Buemi, Rast and Mortara, as Hughes’s lap was cancelled for causing a red flag.

Jaguar’s Sam Bird is back in his car, with the team appealing the penalty.

Photo Credits: Jaguar TCS Racing

The first Quarter Final of the day sees out on track Maserati’s Günther and Andretti’s Dennis, who return championship leader ahead of the race if he manages to get pole, closing the gap to Cassidy.

Track temperature has grown throughout the session, ten degrees warmer than it was at the beginning of Group 1.

After further investigation, Vandoorne and Bird’s laps were reinstated, as they were too close to be able to slow down.

This means that the first duel becomes Dennis vs Bird, which had ended the group in P2. Dennis struggled at first to keep his car in line,with Bird developing a 0.300s gap on him. The British driver was able to catch up a bit in the second sector, but wasn’t able to keep up with Bird, as the Jaguar driver wins. with a strong margin.

The second Duel sees Günther facing Fenestraz. The Nissan driver started faster with a 0.200s gap on the Maserati driver, increased to half a second by the second sector, and easily made the cut.

Rast vs Buemi is on next, on for a very tight lap as the Envision driver was slightly ahead after the first sector, but caught a bump and lost 0.200s on the McLaren driver. It all came down to the final turns, as Buemi is through for only 0.039s.

Final quarter sees Evans facing Mortara, with the two of them swapping up the lead by very close margins. By the second sector the Maserati driver had a 0.167s gap on Evans, but the Jaguar driver overturned it, winning with an impressive 0.440s gap.

The first semifinal sees Fenestraz versus Bird. It was a very close duel, with the very fast drivers swapping the lead as Bird is behind him for only 0.001s. However, the French-Argentinian driver made a mistake in the second sector, which had him finish with over a second of gap to Bird.

The second semi final faces Buemi and Evans, with the Jaguar driver starting 0.061s ahead of the Envision driver. Buemi had a moment as well, with Evans making the final with over 2s of gap to the Swiss driver.

Pole position will be a Jaguar affaire, as their drivers will face in the decisive Duel. Bird has made an impressive recovery after some Group 1 drama, whereas Evans has signed the fastest Rome lap earlier in the 1:37s.

It was a very close one, as Evans was faster by 0.007s at the first check, with the British ahead of him by 0.050s at the first sector, but Bird was surprised by a bump on the road in the second sector, dropping to a second away from Evans.

The Kiwi driver will start from P1 this afternoon ahead of his teammate in his quest to close the gap to the championship leaders.