Formula E: Vergne heads DS TECHEETAH one-two, Mercedes hits trouble

By on

Jean-Eric Vergne edged his team mate Antonio Felix da Costa to head DS TECHEETAH one-two in qualifying ahead of the Berlin E-Prix, Round 14 of the 2020/2021 FIA Formula E season while championship leading Mercedes racer Nyck de Vries only secured the 19th starting position. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó is reporting from the Berlin E-Prix paddock.

The qualifying session for the first round of the season-closing Berlin E-Prix saw a close fight for the pole position. The DS Techeetah duo of Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa, Nissan E.Dams racer Sebastien Buemi, Audi driver Lucas di Grassi and the Venturi duo of Norman Nato and Edoardo Mortara fought their way into the super pole session.

The session containing the fastest six drivers saw Vergne pip his team mate da Costa to head a front-row lockout for DS TECHEETAH with a 13th Formula E Julius Baer Pole Position.

The French and the Portuguese drivers were understandly very delighted with the outcome of the qualifying session.

„We knew it was important coming here to get pole and those points – and to put ourselves in the best position to win,” said Vergne. “We just need to finish the job and get the maximum points possible. We need to understand why we’re so fast here and not at some other circuits but I’ll take it!”

“I’m super relieved because we didn’t have it nailed in practice," said Da Costa. "It's been great work from the team; the top five are within a couple of tenths of each other. For the championship, this is the best we could have done today so far. We need a smart race now. It’s such a cool life experience, fighting for a World Championship against so many world class guys. What will be, will be – it’s so much fun.”

After his disqualification from the London E-Prix, di Grassi was back in full charge in qualifying for Round 14 of the 2020/2021 Formula E season. The Brazilian, who sits in 14th place in the Standings 33 points shy of championship leader de Vries, secured the third starting position for afternoon’s race.

Venturi Team Principal Susie Wolff was delighted to see her drivers qualify 4th and 5th for the Berlin E-Prix. The top six was rounded off by former FE champion Sebastien Buemi, who failed to get a clean last lap under his belt.

While BMW i Andretti driver Jake Dennis led the way in the opening and the second practice, but the Munich-based manufacturer was unable to repeat their pace in the all-important qualifying session. The British driver qualified eighth fastest with his team mate Maximilian Guenther securing P10 for the Berlin E-Prix. However, Dennis still could end the penultimate round of the season in a happy way as he currently sits just 14 points adrift of championship leader de Vries, who failed to qualify high in the session.

Apart from the German driver Guenther, the three other home heroes, Pascal Wehrlein, René Rast and André Lotterer qualified in the middle of the pack by securing the 9th, 13th and 15th starting position respectively for the 45-minute race.

Qualifying was not a happy session for those leading the championship with both Nyck de Vries and Robin Frijns ending up in the lower section of the timing sheets. Standings leader Nyck de Vries found himself marooned down the order in 19th with team mate Stoffel Vandoorne 22nd.

The German outfit's Team Principal Ian James said that the rise of the track temperatures was the cause of the lack of pace. Indeed, Tempelhof’s unique, bumpy and abrasive concrete surface and changing temperatures often prove to be major factors in Berlin.

Second to de Vries in the Standings, Frijns also finds himself well down the order, on the back row down in 23rd, meaning that their rivals have now a brilliant chance to come back into the hunt for the title ahead of tomorrow's finale.