São Paulo E-Prix | Wehrlein pips Vandoorne to pole by 0.002s; Cassidy and Dennis miss out on duels

Photo Credit: Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
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Group A

45 seconds into the first session of qualifying, a red flag had to be thrown due to a bizarre moment where a mini parachute appeared on track.

On the first runs, Evans led a Jaguar 1-2, clocking a 1:14.017. De Vries and Muller completed the top 4, with 0.122s covering them all. Cassidy retook top spot as a 1:13.878 was the first time in the 1:13s, putting him fractionally ahead of Vandoorne, Vergne and Evans. 0.139s separated them.

Frijns, De Vries, Muller, Nato, Rowland, Di Grassi and Sette Camara completed the order as drivers pitted for new tyres and started their final attempts.

Heading into the final minute and the last attempts, a 1:13.867 from Nico Muller put him 0.011s ahead of Cassidy.

Former champion Nyck de Vries had to abort a lap as he got blocked by Norman Nato heading into turn 4.

It was the Penske’s of Vergne and Vandoorne who ended up quickest, with the Frenchman’s 1:13.731 the benchmark time. Vandoorne, Evans and Muller also made it through. A mere 0.136s covered them.

Championship leader Nick Cassidy missed out on a duels spot by 0.011s. Despite a massive drift coming out of the penultimate corner, Oliver Rowland only missed out by 0.058s as he finished 6th.

De Vries, Di Grassi, Frijns, Sette Camara and Nato also dropped out. Frijns had good pace but a costly error early in his lap likely cost him a place in the next stage of qualifying.

0.415s covered the 11 drivers in a very close session.

Group B

After a horrible start to the season, Antonio Felix Da Costa continued his strong form from practice as a 1:13.801 put the Portuguese driver 0.2s clear of Günther, Hughes and Wehrlein. Sacha Fenestraz slotted into P2 in the Nissan, 0.166s away from that strong benchmark by the former Formula E champion.

Things got even better for Porsche as Pascal Wehrlein pumped in a 1:13.728 to make it a 1-2 for the team. Defending champion Jake Dennis went 3rd, with Fenestraz completing the top 4 as the drivers returned to their garages ahead of the final runs.

Gunther, Hughes, Buemi, Ticktum, Mortara, Daruvala and Bird completed the order.

The Maserati of Günther banged in a 1:13.516 to post the fastest time of qualifying to that point. Unfortunately for the German, he has a 40-place grid penalty for the race later.

Wehrlein made a small improvement on his final attempt to move within 0.197s of that mega lap from Gunther. Mortara and Bird delivered right at the end of the session as they narrowly bumped out Da Costa. 0.270s covered the 4 cars who made it through.

Joining Da Costa in getting knocked out was defending champion Jake Dennis. The Brit missed out on the duels by 0.058s. Hughes, Fenestraz, Daruvala, Buemi and Ticktum also got bumped.


Quarter-Final 1 — Evans vs Vandoorne

At the start of his lap, Mitch Evans failed to hook up turns 1 and 2 correctly, costing him valuable time. The rest of the lap was strong, as he posted a 1:13.184. However, the Belgian driver was 0.156s quicker than the Kiwi as he made it through with a strong benchmark.

Quarter-Final 2 — Müller vs Vergne

Nico Müller could not compete due to damage he picked up in Group A. He clipped the wall at turn 4 and his qualifying was done.

Vergne did not take it easy as he prepared for the semi-final duel. A brilliant 1:12.917 confirmed Penske’s very strong speed.

Quarter-Final 3 Mortara vs Wehrlein

Turns 1 and 2 saw Wehrlein put 0.266s into Mortara as the Porsche driver nailed it perfectly.

The German ultimately did a 1:12.846 to set the fastest time of the weekend to that point. He was 0.522 quicker than Mortara who did an excellent job to make the duels after a difficult start to 2024 for Mahindra.

Quarter-Final 4 Bird vs Günther

Once again in the first sector there was a solid differential as Günther was 0.226s ahead of Bird.

Günther maintained a very solid advantage as the lap continued on. A 1:12.881 saw him through by 0.327s over the British driver.

Semi-Final 1 — Vergne vs Vandoorne

It was all about Stoffel Vandoorne as a 1:12.566 saw the Belgian demolish his teammate to get through to the final. Vergne could only manage a 1:13.287 as the rear of his Penske looked extremely unstable throughout the lap and was slow.

Semi-Final 2 — Günther vs Wehrlein

The second semi-final was much tighter as Wehrlein held a slim advantage over his fellow German over most of the lap.

However, a very strong final corner saw the Porsche driver extend his gap to 0.277s to make it through thanks to a 1:12.764.

Final — Vandoorne vs Wehrlein

Wehrlein went first, with the German logging a 1:12.789. In a remarkably tight fight, a small slide out of the penultimate corner and not quite hooking up the final one saw Vandoorne miss out by 0.002s after he was four hundredths up before those moments.

Following his pole and win in Mexico, it’s a big moment for Wehrlein as he struggled in Saudi Arabia last time out.