Formula E

Pole for Vandoorne in Final Berlin Qualifying

Today sees the final Round of Season 6 for Formula E. The 2019/2020 season has been strange to say the least but it all comes down to one more E-Prix.

Starting with the final qualifying session of the year, the group stages have changed quite a bit over the last few rounds. As previously stated, Antonio Felix Da Costa and his team, DS Techeetah have won the Drivers and Constructors Championship. The only questions remaining are who will win Round 11 later today? and who will finish 2nd and 3rd in the standings.

Yesterday, we saw the new extended Tempelhof Airport circuit for the third double header causing problems. Group 1 of Round 10’s qualifying were unable to set a lap by missing the chequered flag by mere seconds. This meant that four of the top drivers, all being Formula E champions, had to start at the back. The track seemed to treat the cars slightly better today but some still struggled with the increasing evolution.

Beginning with Group 1 for Round 11, we saw Da Costa, yesterday’s race winner, Oliver Rowland, Jean-Eric Vergne, Mitch Evans, Andre Lotterer and Maximilian Gunther. Group 1 of yesterday left the garages with 1 minute and 45 seconds remaining, whereas today, cars gave it a comfortable 2 minute window to get a lap completed. Da Costa set the best first sector, with Evans seeming very slow.

Rowland was not having the best lap then set a horrible middle sector, which put him at the bottom of the group, complete contrast from yesterdays pole position. Gunther seemed very strong and managed to beat the Formula E Champion to the top, putting in a 1.16:134.

Then, we saw Group 2 take to the track with Lucas Di Grassi, Sebastian Buemi, Stoffel Vandoorne, Alexander Sims and both Envision Virgin drivers of Robin Frijns and Sam Bird. Sims and Frijns were setting good first sectors with Buemi going quicker than anyone. Vandoorne was having a good lap, being a fraction faster than Di Grassi.

As cars crossed the line, fastest lap was changing left, right and centre with everyone trumping each other for the top spot. Vandoorne slotted in 2nd with Buemi setting the top time of 1.15:660. All Group 1 drivers were knocked out of Super Pole contention.

Next up, we had Group 3 consisting of, Nyck De Vries, Eduardo Mortara, Jerome D’Ambrosio, Rene Rast, Alex Lynn and Neel Jani. First out was Jani who had gave a very impressive performance yesterday. Jani seemed ok in sector 1 but couldn’t find the pace in the final sectors.

De Vries and Mortara were setting very good sectors all around, managing to both make it into Super Pole. Lynn seemed quick at the start of his lap but missed out on Super Pole by one slot, going 7th. The driver to benefit the most was Rast, who gained his first podium in Formula E yesterday, who had a great lap and slotting in 2nd, just behind Buemi.

Finally, for the last qualifying session of Season 6, Group 4 came out with Daniel Abt, Felipe Massa, Oliver Turvey, Nico Muller, Tom Blomqvist and Sergio Sette Camara. Cars seemed to struggle for pace with Camara and Massa having mediocre first sectors. Muller and Blowqvist were rather slow as Group 4 differed massively from yesterday. Most of the group slotted themselves in on the bottom half of the grid but both Camara and Turvey pushed their cars as hard as they could to go 9th and 13th for the E-Prix later today.

Moving on to the all exciting Super Pole saw the 6 drivers of Mortara, Frijns, De Vries, Vandoorne, Rast and Buemi fight it out to gain the final pole of the year. Mortara was up first and had a slight loss of grip over the bumps. The Venturi driver seemed to have a neat lap and setting good sectors. Mortara set a benchmark of 1.16:055 but told his team that he was unhappy with his performance.

Next up, we saw Frijns take his turn and seemed very strong round turn 1. The Dutchman put in a very strong sector 1 but lost a little time on the rest of his lap. Despite a few little kinks, Frijns beat Mortara with a 1.15:867.

The next driver to try their luck was the first Mercedes driver, De Vries. We saw his back end sliding into turn 4 and later on in the final sector. This did not seem to phase De Vries as he was up on Frijns in the timing in the first and middle sector. Crossing the line, he went top with a 1.15:738.

Staying with the same team, we had Vandoorne out next on the track. The second Mercedes driver did a good first sector but then improved massively through the middle and last sector. Flying round the circuit and being up in times on his teammate meant that Vandoorne went quickest with a 1.15:468.

We then saw Rast try and fight to see where he could place in the top 6. The replacement driver for the Audi team has been doing extremely well in Berlin and managed to get into Super Pole once again. It seemed like a bad lap for the German driver at first but then pulled it back with a phenomenal sector 3 to go 2nd, very close behind Vandoorne.

It all came down to Buemi to see whether he or Vandoorne would take the final pole position of Season 6. The Swiss Nissan driver gave it all his might but was slightly down in sector 1. Still not able to match Vandoorne’s time in sector 2 meant it was a last ditch shoot out in the final sector. Buemi crossed the line but could only manage 2nd place, meaning Vandoorne gains his second pole position in Formula E.

Speaking to Nicki Sheilds after the race, Vandoorne spoke about his relief with this reward. “I kind of needed that after the last couple of races”, hinting that his qualifyinf performance hadn’t been up to scratch since arriving in Berlin, “I managed a good lap in the groups then a really good lap in Super Pole”, the Belgian told the commentator, also going on to mention that if the team execute things perfectly, he should have a good race. If previous Berlin races are anything to go by each pole sitter has gone to take the win.

With all the preperation work now over, all 24 drivers will be hoping to have a fantastic last race. Don’t forget to check back with Overtake Motorsport for the latest news and results for the final E-Prix of 2020.

Feature Image Credit: Stoffel Vandoorne Official Twitter Page

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