Warm temperatures and an abrasive track surface gave drivers additional challenges in the first qualifying session of the Berlin ePrix weekend.
Sam Bird came out on top from the first group, three-tenths clear of Daniel Abt. Both drivers set times in the 1:08 range, giving them a fighting chance of progressing to the Super Pole round. The remaining drivers, Antonio Felix da Costa, Adam Carroll and Robin Frijns, all looked significantly off the pace they set in the free practice sessions.
Jean-Éric Vergne continued his run of good qualifying performances with a provisional P-2 from the second group. Nicolas Prost and Jerome D’Ambrosio took fourth and fifth with tidy laps, with ten drivers still to take to the track. Loïc Duval and Maro Engel brought up the rest of the field
The drama kicked up a notch in the third group. First to cross the timing line, José María López showed he is now much more comfortable in the Formula E car and took P-2. Lucas di Grassi was next, taking the slot behind both DS Virgin cars. Then a stunning run from Felix Rosenqvist changed everything when he took provisional pole. A mistake from Mitch Evans saw him clip the wall, leaving him down in eleventh. Nelson Piquet Jr. could only take tenth.
Group four is usually considered the best set to be drawn in, but Sébastien Buemi couldn’t put together a lap capable of challenging the top spots. He struggled with over-steer, and will start down in fourteenth. Nick Heidfeld put together another impressive lap for Mahindra, and joined Rosenqvist in the Super Pole session with a P-3. Oliver Turvey claimed seventh, but neither Tom Dillmann or Stephane Sarrazin could make the top ten.
Di Grassi, who is nursing an ankle injury, took to the track first. His time of 1.08:312 was then the target for Lopez to beat. The DS Virgin driver had a slightly slower first sector, but closed the gap over the remainder of the lap, and crossed the line only one thousandth of a second behind the Abt Schaeffler Audi driver.
Heidfeld couldn’t better their times with his attempt. Bird, behind him, struggled with grip and was a second off the pace. Rosenqvist’s third place means Mahindra will lock out the second row. Di Grassi therefore claims the three pole position bonus point and start from the front of the grid for round 7 of the championship.
- Lucas di Grassi (Abt Schaeffler Audi)
- José María López (DS Virgin)
- Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra)
- Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra)
- Sam Bird (DS Virgin)