Jean-Eric Vergne has taken pole position for the 2019 Bern ePrix by just over three tenths of a second from the Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Mitch Evans, with the local driver Sebastien Buemi starting this afternoon’s race from third place. Pole position in Switzerland has given Vergne a nine-point lead over his nearest rival Lucas Di Grassi ahead of this afternoon’s race, where the Brazilian will start from nineteenth on the grid after a messy session from the Audi racer.
The first qualifying group saw Di Grassi and the two DS Techeetah cars of Andre Lotterer and Vergne head out with three and a half minutes to go in the first qualifying session in order to do their warm-up laps, with Antonio Felix Da Costa and Robin Frijns emerging with less than two minutes to go to complete their qualy laps.
Despite the difference in time and the huge potential for the drivers to be spread out across this 2.7 km racetrack, Di Grassi was heading the train of cars as the top five in the championship charged onto their flying laps. And at the end of a tense qualifying session, DS Techeetah showed their form once again as Vergne topped the timesheet with lap of 1:19.232, three and a half tenths clear of his team-mate Lotterer and Frijns while both Di Grassi and Felix Da Costa ultimately ending nineteenth and twentieth on the grid by virtue of their laps being over 0.8 s slower than Vergne’s qualifying effort.
The second qualifying session was a more sensible affair with Oliver Rowland heading out with just under four minutes to go and he was closely followed by Mitch Evans, Sebastien Buemi and Jerome D’ Ambrosio for the second qualifying session in Bern. Rowland was first to set a laptime and despite showing great signs in the first and second sectors of the lap, the Englishman made a mistake in the final sector to end up eighth after the second session.
He was quickly followed by the impressive New Zealander Evans, who after winning in Rome has shown himself to be mightily impressive in qualifying and put in a laptime 0.3 s quicker than Vergne. Buemi provisionally went third, just a tenth behind the Frenchman with the second Audi of Daniel Abt just a couple of tenths behind the Swiss racer. Meanwhile, another disappointingly slow effort from D’ Ambrosio in the Mahindra to be 0.7 s off the pace without any obvious mistakes.
Qualifying group three for the Bern ePrix began with Sam Bird rattled as the Envision Virgin Racing driver wanted to adopt a normal run plan of a warm-up lap and a flying lap, but his team put him on just the single flying lap. But while Bird waited to be released onto the racetrack, Alexander Sims and Pascal Wehrlein headed out onto the track, with Stoffel Vandoorne the first to go onto a full-power qualifying lap around the streets of Bern as the Belgian adopted the same run-plan as Bird.
At the end of the session, Vandoorne could only muster a lap eight tenths down on Evans and Sims was over a second off the New Zealander. Meanwhile, Bird’s run plan worked as the Englishman got into Super-Pole for the first time since Santiago with Wehrlein going third to join him in the pole position shootout. Meanwhile, Felipe Massa ended up ninth after the penultimate qualifying group with Edoardo Mortara putting together a sub-standard lap to go slowest of those who had run so far.
The final session of group qualifying on the streets of the Swiss capital saw Maxmillian Gunther put together a sensational lap as the Dragon Racing driver managed to go fifth in standard qualifying. Alex Lynn was second quickest in the final qualifying group to manage the tenth-fastest laptime, some 0.7 s slower than Evans’s fastest lap. Jose Maria Lopez was 0.8 s off Evans to go fourteenth fastest, while the two NIO Formula E cars were at the bottom of the timesheets once again with Tom Dillmann out-qualifying Oliver Turvey for the first time since Rome, but the two NIO cars were some 0.4 s slower than Felix Da Costa, who will start from twentieth on the grid.
The Super-Pole session for the 2019 Bern ePrix got underway with British driver Sam Bird the first to take to the track, and while Bird managed a solid lap with a mightily fast sector three, he missed the turn six apex struggling with oversteer mid-corner which saw him drop four tenths of a second. Next to run was Gunther, who after making it into Super-Pole was determined to do a good job which he did by beating Bird, but he lost 0.3 s of a second to his British rival in the final sector.
Sebastien Buemi was next out and despite a slow start to the lap, the Swiss racer soon found his feet and managed to displace Gunther with a 1 min 19.164, and despite Wehrlein showing impressive speed, a mistake at turn seven and a lockup at turn nine meant that the German was 0.004 s slower than the Nissan e. dams driver.
Then it came down to the final two, and after making it into Super-Pole despite running in group one, Vergne put in an incredible lap to go three and a half tenths quicker than Buemi. And despite the best efforts of the Swiss ePrix poleman from last season, Mitch Evans was unable to displace the championship leader and heads into this afternoon’s race with the best chance of taking the championship by storm ahead of the New York City double header season finale in three weeks time.