ABB Formula E – New York ePrix 1 – Qualifying
Hello MinE Fans!
Today sees round 11 of the ABB Formula E hosted in the town of Red Hook at the Brooklyn Street Circuit in New York. Qualifying would be crucial today with championship protagonists Jean-Eric Vergne and Sam Bird desperate to qualify near the front and avoid the inevitable carnage lower down the order on the opening lap of the race. Let’s also not forget that this series uses the FIA alternate scoring system; awarding three points for pole position.
Qualifying group one were the top five in the championship; Jean-Eric Vergne, Sam Bird, Lucas di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi and Felix Rosenqvist. If you tuned in midway through the session, you would be forgiven for thinking it was a race rather than qualifying. All drivers left it very late to head onto the track, and then we saw Vergne and Buemi go side-by-side for track position. Despite the frantic nature of the warm-up lap, all drivers got across the line to start their laps before the chequered flag fell; Vergne with only two seconds to spare. I find it baffling that the top teams in the World were taking such a huge risk here, it’s ridiculous in my opinion. Vergne topped the session ahead of Buemi, di Grassi, Bird, and Rosenqvist some way behind in 5th place.
Qualifying group two and three were largely uneventful. Although it’s worth noting that all 10 drivers in these groups were able to out-qualify title contender Sam Bird. The Brit was down to 13th. A hugely significant twist came at the end of group three though. Both Techeetah cars; Lotterer and Vergne, had all lap times deleted for switching to full power mode too early and breaking the regulations.
The final group qualifying session brought Jose Maria Lopez, Nico Prost, Luca Filippi, Tom Dillmann and Stephane Sarrazin to the track. Prost was the quickest driver in this group, moving into 5th place overall.
With all group sessions over, the drivers through to super pole were Daniel Abt, Mitch Evans, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Sebastien Buemi and Nico Prost. In terms of the championship contenders; Sam Bird will start 14th and Jean-Eric Vergne will start dead last. We should see a fascinating race later today watching those two come through the pack. It’s worth noting that battery management will be crucial here, this race could potentially be the longest in Formula E history.
In super pole, Nico Prost was first on track and able to set a benchmark of a 1:14.921. However, his Renault team mate, Sebastien Buemi, was able to go just over a second quicker to take provisional pole. Meanwhile, the Dragon of Jerome d’Ambrosio had a messy lap to go over four tenths slower than Prost. Mitch Evans of Jaguar set a lap good enough for 2nd on the grid, but still 0.554 off Buemi. With the on-form Daniel Abt left to run, would Sebastian Buemi keep his provisional pole? He would as the German driver made a mistake on his hot lap, ultimately qualifying 5th.
Just a note that Oliver Turvey didn’t take part in this session. He’s currently in hospital with a fractured hand and we wish him a speedy recovery.
There’s a 23 point gap between Vergne and Bird in the championship. With both drivers starting well down on the grid, what do you think the points gap will be after today’s race? Let us know in the comments below.