Formula E

Dennis Claims Pole Again Whilst Mercedes-EQ Suffer Setback

4 Mins read
Credit: Stacey Guiney / Suberashi Auto Photo

Jake Dennis sealed another London E-Prix pole position, to make it back-to-back pole positions at the ExCeL Centre. The Brit was met by an eruption of applause from the British crowd, as the experienced Lucas Di Grassi qualified alongside him. Antonio Giovinazzi was the big shock of the duels, the Italian managed to qualify in third.

However, whilst there was delight for Dennis, there was severe disappointment for all four title contenders. All four failed to make it to the duels and will start from the mid-pack, putting all at risk of opening lap carnage.

Group A

Group A saw championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne and his team-mate Nyck de Vries, Race One winner Dennis also featured in the first group. Sérgio Sette Câmara, Oliver Askew, Maximilian Günther, title challenger Edoardo Mortara, António Félix Da Costa, Oliver Rowland, Sam Bird and André Lotterer all featured in Group A.

After the first runs it was Dennis who yet again sat top of the timesheets on a mid 1:13, with Bird, Askew and Vandoorne all very close behind. After two collisions in Free Practice 3, Mortara was clearly suffering from confidence, he was last after his first run.

Mortara led the pack out for their final push-lap, knowing that he needed to put in a performance. The Swiss failed once again to make it to the duels in London; however, championship leader Vandoorne also failed to make it into the duels after a big lock-up at Turn One!

Dennis topped the group once again, with Da Costa, De Vries and Askew all putting in a time worthy of a place in the duels.

António Félix Da Costa at Turn 3 – Credit: Stacey Guiney / Suberashi Auto Photo

Group B

With Vandoorne not making it into the duels, Mitch Evans and Jean-Éric Vergne both had a huge opportunity in Group B to put the championship leader under-pressure. Also in Group B were Robin Frijns, Di Grassi, Pascal Wehrlein, FP3 pace-setter Nick Cassidy, Sébastian Buemi, Alexander Sims, Oliver Turvey, Dan Ticktum and Giovinazzi.

Di Grassi led the group after the first runs, with Vergne crucially also in the top four. Evans sat seventh after his first push-lap, putting the New Zealander under some stress to produce a much faster lap on his final run.

Vandoorne watched on intently, knowing that if Vergne or Evans made it into the duels then he’d face a challenge to possibly extend his championship lead. The Belgian watched on with a grin of relief on his face, as both Vergne and Evans yet again failed to make it into the duels. Di Grassi topped the session by three-tenths, from a brilliant lap by Giovinazzi. Cassidy and Buemi also qualified for the duels, with none of the top four in the championship making it into the duels.

Quarter-Finals

Quarter-Final One saw Saturday’s victor Dennis against Nissan E.DAMS‘ Buemi, with the Avalanche Andretti FE Team driver the hot favourite to make it into the Semi-Finals. Buemi was first to set a lap-time, and posted a very strong 1:13.1; however, it wasn’t enough to beat Dennis who posted a breathtaking 1:12.661 to seal his place in the Semi-Finals

The second Quarter-Final saw Cassidy against Da Costa, with both having shown good pace across the weekend. Cassidy crucially locked-up at Turn One, costing him half a second to the DS Techeetah driver. This inevitably saw Cassidy comfortably beaten by Da Costa, who went through on a dead 1:13.

De Vries then went up against Giovinazzi in the next Quarter-Final, with the Dragon/Penske Autosport driver being a surprising feature in the duels. Both drivers pushed to the absolute limit, with De Vries locking-up massively at Turn Sixteen. Somehow the Dutchman still posted a strong lap-time, but it wasn’t enough to beat Giovinazzi. The Italian driver who is yet to score a point this season sealed his place in the Semi-Finals.

The final Quarter-Final was Askew against Di Grassi, with the latter being the obvious favourite having topped his Group. The Brazilian comfortably made it through, with Askew aborting his lap having damaged his steering after hitting the barrier.

Semi-Finals

Dennis went up against Da Costa in the opening Semi-Final, with the DS Techeetah driving setting his lap first. Dennis was up by nearly three-tenths halfway round; however, that became four-tenths by the end of the lap, after setting a strong 1:12.649.

Then came Giovinazzi against Di Grassi, with the Italian having already impressed by making it to this stage. Despite this, Di Grassi was the clear favourite to make it to the final. Giovinazzi’s lap wasn’t good enough for the final, but it was strong enough to seal a third-place start for the race later on. Di Grassi sealed his place in the Final with a 1:12.641.

Above: Antonio Giovinazzi at Turn 3 – Credit: Stacey Guiney / Suberashi Auto Photo

Final

So it was the driver who started Race One last , against the driver who claimed pole for it. Dennis and Di Grassi had produced virtually identical lap-times throughout the session, making it incredibly difficult to predict.

As Dennis was +0.008 slower than Di Grassi’s Semi-Final time, he went first in the final. Halfway round and only a tenth separated the duo, with Dennis just on top. Di Grassi made a huge error, though, in the final sector, which resulted in him setting only a 1:13.6. Dennis destroyed his pole-lap from Saturday, and set a unmatchable 1:12.535, the fastest-lap of the weekend.

So Dennis made it back-to-back poles in London, setting himself up perfectly to go for back-to-back wins. There will be eyes all over the mid-pack where all four title contenders will be coming from. Mercedes will also need a strong race, with Constructors’ rivals ROKIT Venturi Racing having Di Grassi on the front row.

London E-Prix Round 14 Qualifying Full Results:

POS.NO.NAME.NAT.TEAM.TIME.
127Jake DennisGBRAvalanche Andretti FE Team1:12.535
211Lucas Di GrassiBRZROKIT Venturi Racing1:13.619
399Antonio GiovinazziITADragon/Penske Autosport1:12.962
413António Félix Da CostaPORDS Techeetah1:13.028
517Nyck de VriesNEDMercedes-EQ Formula E Team1:13.043
623Sébastian BuemiCHENissan E.DAMS1:13.197
737Nick CassidyNZLEnvision Racing1:13.490
828Oliver AskewUSAAvalanche Andretti FE Team1:44.374
922Maximilian GüntherGERNissan E.DAMS1:13.497
1025Jean-Éric VergneFRADS Techeetah1:13.422
1130Oliver RowlandGBRMahindra Racing1:13.544
1294Pascal WehrleinGERTAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team1:13.507
135Stoffel VandoorneBELMercedes-EQ Formula E Team1:13.624
149Mitch EvansNZLTCS Jaguar Racing1:13.511
1510Sam BirdGBRTCS Jaguar Racing1:13.652
1633Dan TicktumGBRNIO 333 FE Team1:13.696
1748Edoardo MortaraCHEROKIT Venturi Racing1:13.745
184Robin FrijnsNEDEnvision Racing1:13.748
197Sérgio Sette CâmaraBRZDragon/Penske Autosport1:13.745
203Oliver TurveyGBRNIO 333 FE Team1:13.948
2136André LottererGERTAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team1:14.076
2229Alexander SimsGBRMahindra Racing1:14.729
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