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Berlin Tempelhof Formula E circuit

Berlin Qualifying: Buemi sets a new Formula E record as he takes pole position

Who's starting where ahead of round one the 2023 Berlin E-Prix?

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Buemi secured the sixteenth pole position of his Formula E career, whilst Porsche struggled for pace ahead of their home race.

The Envision of Sébastien Buemi on-track.
That’s the second pole position of the season for Sébastien Buemi. (@Hankook_Sport on Twitter)

Formula E is back at the iconic Berlin Tempelhof circuit, for the first qualifying session of this weekend’s doubleheader. DS Penske and Maserati had set the pace ahead of today’s qualifying, topping the timesheets in FP1 and FP2 respectively. But as it turned out, it was the Jaguar powertrain that looked to be the fastest.

The groups

Group A

The Maserati of Edoardo Mortara was the first out on track, weaving his way down the track in an effort to warm up the tyres. The push laps soon began, Vandoorne clocking in at 1:06.116. Sébastien Buemi sat two-tenths behind the DS Penske driver, ahead of Cassidy.

The laps started to come in quicker, but Vandoorne remained fastest with a 1:05.978. Meanwhile, Porsche seemed to be struggling. Championship leader Wehrlein was P7, whilst teammate da Costa was just behind in P8.

With just over four minutes remaining, the cars headed to the pits for a tyre change ahead of their final push laps. There weren’t many significant improvements on previous lap times. Vandoorne and the two Envisions remained comfortably in the top three until the checkered flag.

There was a surprising lack of performance from Porsche. Neither Porsche made it through to the duels, and are now set to start on the eighth and tenth rows of the grid. It was the worst qualifying performance of the season for Wehrlein — not what he would have wanted ahead of his home race.

Through to the quarter-finals: Vandoorne, Buemi, Cassidy, Sette Câmara

Group B

Jaguar’s hopes now rested on the shoulders of Sam Bird, who put in the first push lap of the group. Clocking in at 1:06.581, Bird’s time was quickly improved upon as the other drivers completed their fast laps. Günther soon went fastest with a time of 1:06.256.

Bird then snatched P1 back from the grasp of Maserati, coming across the line at 1:06.018. Günther improved upon his time, but couldn’t quite top Bird.

A tenth behind Günther sat Dan Ticktum, as the NIO continued to look quick. Rounding out the top four was Jake Dennis in the Avalanche Andretti. With five minutes remaining, the drivers came back into the pits.

Again, there were few improvements in the second part of the session. Bird held onto P1, whilst Vergne failed to break into the top four. It was a great result for the NIO 333 team, who had both drivers through to the duels.

Through to the quarter-finals: Bird, Günther, Ticktum, Dennis

The Duels
Quarter-final one: Cassidy vs Buemi

It was the battle of the Envision drivers. It meant the team would be guaranteed a top four start, but at the cost of only being able to have one driver make it past the quarter-finals.

Buemi gained time on Cassidy through the first few corners, putting a couple of tenths between them. Cassidy began to catch up to Buemi, gaining some time on the straight. Buemi remained ahead by almost three-tenths, but a fast final sector saw Cassidy narrow that down to only seven-hundredths of a second. Still, it wasn’t quite quick enough to beat Buemi.

Buemi goes through to the semi-finals.

Quarter-final two: Sette vs Vandoorne

It was a straightforward duel between the two. Vandoorne set the pace early on, and managed to remain a steady two-tenths ahead of the NIO driver throughout the lap.

Vandoorne goes through to the semi-finals. 

Quarter-final three: Ticktum vs Günther

This was a much tighter fight for the semi-finals. The two were neck and neck, with Günther starting to just inch ahead. It all boiled down to the final corners, but lockup for Günther saw the battle go Ticktum’s way.

Ticktum goes through to the semi-finals. 

Quarter-final four: Dennis vs Bird

Dennis and Bird began the lap evenly matched, but Bird soon began to creep ahead of the Andretti. Dennis soon started to catch up to Bird. The Andretti driver was able to shave five-hundredths off his gap to Bird, but he couldn’t quite get ahead.

Bird goes through to the semi-finals.

The Semi-Finals
Semi-final one: Buemi vs Vandoorne

Buemi took to the track first in the bright green Envision. Buemi was a tenth-up on Vandoorne, but the DS Penske driver started to close the gap. Despite his best efforts to catch the Envision driver, Vandoorne began to fall back once more. It’s Buemi who pips the reigning World Champion to the finals.

Buemi goes through to the finals.

Semi-final two: Bird vs Ticktum

Bird maintained a comfortable gap on Ticktum, sailing around the Tempelhof circuit with two-tenths on the fellow Brit. It was a valiant effort from Ticktum, but Bird remained quickest throughout the duel.

Bird goes through to the finals.

The final: Bird vs Buemi

Buemi went immediately faster than Bird at first, though the gap was only marginal. But as Buemi continued to throw his Envision around the corners of Tempelhof, the gap continued to grow.

Buemi extended the lead ahead of the Jaguar driver, crossing the line with a record sixteenth pole position under his belt.

The starting grid for the Berlin E-Prix
  1. Sébastien Buemi
  2. Sam Bird
  3. Stoffel Vandoorne
  4. Dan Ticktum
  5. Jake Dennis
  6. Nick Cassidy
  7. Sergio Sette Câmara
  8. Maximilian Günther
  9. Mitch Evans
  10. Jean-Éric Vergne
  11. Edorado Mortara
  12. Jake Hughes
  13. André Lotterer
  14. René Rast
  15. Pascal Wehrlein
  16. Norman Nato
  17. Nico Müller
  18. Sacha Fenestraz
  19. António Félix da Costa
  20. Lucas Di Grassi
  21. Oliver Rowland
  22. Robin Frijns

Featured Image Credit: Formula E 

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