Shanghai E-Prix | Qualifying | Vergne continues his legacy in China and takes pole position

Photo Credit: Formula E | Sam Bagnall
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With Mitch Evans on top during FP1 and Norman Nato and Jean-Éric Vergne matching each other’s times in FP2, the Formula E drivers, were ready to battle it out in the first qualifying session of the doubleheader weekend in Shanghai.

So far this season, Pascal Wehrlein has scored the most pole positions, with three under his belt. The cooler conditions in Shanghai could suit Wehrlein, who is currently second in the championship. Although he’s been consistent in collecting points for TAG Heuer Porsche, he’s been on the podium twice this year.

Group A

One by one, the drivers in Group A made their way out on track. Their first order of business was to get banking laps in, within the first six minutes. Stoffel Vandoorne started the session off, setting the time to beat with a 1:14.242s.

Evans and Nick Cassidy looked strong at 300kW, with the Jaguar duo in second and third. Oliver Rowland was close behind. Although he finished FP2 on a high, Nato found himself in P6, five hundredths off a place in the Duels.

The drivers pitted for some fresh tyres for their final flying laps. With two minutes left, the top four looked comfortable, but the margins were tight. The gap between the top eight was close.

As the drivers slowed into the final corners, to get space for their flying laps, both Jaguars were looking level, just nine thousandths between Evans and Cassidy.

With the final times coming in, Rowland improved to second, while Nato moved up to third. Nick Cassidy was booted out of the Duels.

Vandoorne’s time help up, making the DS Penske driver the fastest in Group A. He was joined by Rowland, Nato and Evans in the Duels.

Photo Credit: Formula E | X

Group B

It was time for Group B to take to the track and Jake Dennis started off the second phase of Qualifying. The reigning Formula E champion has not been too happy this weekend, but is aware of the potential, as his teammate made it through to the Duels in Group A session.

Wehrlein was also in Group B, and he has the most duel stager appearances this season—seven in a row.

António Félix Da Costa quickly went to the top, but was immediately pushed off by Wehrlein, by just one-thousandth. However, it was Vergne who ultimately landed on top by a clean tenth.

The session heated up, as NEOM McLaren’s Jake Hughes moved up to second during the last lap, before the cars pitted for a change of tyres. The gap between the top four was 0.145s, with just one minute left.

Dennis started his final lap as he was down in ninth place. Robin Frijns bumped up into the top four, but it was Hughes who made the best time of 1:14.140s.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for Dennis, who crossed the line in sixth. Da Costa was back in the top four, after he was briefly shuffled out. Frijns was knocked out.

Moving onto the Duels with Hughes was Vergne, and the TAG Heuer Porsche duo.

Photo Credit: Formula E | X


The first round of the Duels saw Rowland and Nato battling it out, but Rowland’s second sector was good, and he kept it consistent, eliminating Nato.

Evans was faster than Vandoorne over a big gap. The Belgian driver lost time with a mistake in the first sector, he could not recover from. Vandoorne lost out to the Jaguar by over three-tenths.

It was Vergne and Da Costa’s turn to battle it out.

Vergne started with a great run and went quicker than Da Costa by two-tenths. The Portuguese driver pushed hard and picked up the pace, but Vergne got the best of his former teammate by just six-thousandths.

Jake Hughes sadly missed out on a spot in the semi-finals. He made a good attempt, but Wehrlein produced a stunning lap that eliminated the NEOM McLaren driver.


The first duo to kick off the semi-finals was Rowland and Evans. The Nissan driver has never lost a semi-final duel, while Evans lost his last two semi-final appearances in Monaco and Berlin. The last time the duo faced off, Rowland beat Evans in the quarter-finals in Tokyo.

His streak continued as he beat the Jaguar driver by just 0.001s.

The semi-finals intensified as Vergne booked himself a spot in the finals, after the German driver made small mistakes in the last sector.

Photo Credit: Formula E | X

Pole for Vergne

The final fight for pole saw Vergne lay down a quick first sector. Rowland slightly caught up in sector two, but Vergne kept it clean. Unfortunately for Rowland, it was not enough to beat the DS Penske driver.