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Mexico City E-Prix Qualifying: Andretti dominate but a shock pole position caused upset

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The Mexico City E-Prix qualifying session was full of shocks and upsets despite being the first one of the year.

The “class of Season 9” lined up on the grid. Image Credit: Formula E on Twitter @FIA Formula E

Before heading into the results, make sure you’re up to date with the qualifying format as new fans may find it confusing. Formula E qualifying is unique.

Reminder: As it’s the first round of the championship, the two qualifying groups will not be split up by championship standings.

Group A

The first group headed onto the track and all drivers managed to get out, despite Sam Bird having car issues beforehand. Sam Bird set the early pace but was then beaten by Buemi, Di Grassi and Lotterer.

In the first few minutes, the top time changed frequently with all the drivers outdoing each other.

A standout moment of the first session was when Sette Câmara was impeded in the stadium section.

Eventually, the top time of the session was Lotterer with a time of 1.13.405 seconds. The other drivers to get through were Sebastien Buemi, Lucas Di Grassi and Sacha Fenestraz. Fenestraz was the shocker of the session when he moved up from last place to the top four on his last lap.

Despite setting the pace in the practice session, Jean-Eric Vergne came in sixth and also got a warning flag for stopping on track.

Group A results for the Mexico City E-Prix Qualifying. Credit: FormulaE.com
Group B

The second session of the Mexico City E-Prix qualifying was just as exciting as the first. One of the most impressive moments was Mitch Evan’s going into the top four in the early stages, despite having a crash in practice.

Everyone, once again, was beating each other’s times and the top four didn’t remain the same for long.

The top time came from the other Andretti, Jake Dennis with a time of 1.13.074 seconds. The other three that got through were Dan Ticktum, Jake Hughes and Pascal Wehrlein. Neither Jaguar nor DS Penske got through to the duels in a shocking upset.

Amazingly, both rookies for the season got through too!

 

Group B qualifying results. Credit: FormulaE.com
The Duels

Quarter Final 1

Sebastien Buemi vs Lucas di Grassi

It was Lucas di Grassi who came out on top by two-hundredths of a second despite Buemi having the upper hand for most of the lap.  Di Grassi got through with a 1.13.081 second lap.

Quarter Final 2

Sacha Fenestraz vs André Lotterer

Lotterer pipped Fenestraz to the post despite Fenestraz looking quicker at the start. Lotterer did his lap in 1.13.176 seconds.

Quarter Final 3

Dan Ticktum vs Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes started off first and looked very much ahead but Ticktum was catching him. Although he was being put under pressure by the Nio car, McLaren made it to the semi-finals. Jake Hughes finished on top with a 1.12.788 second lap. It was the quickest of the session.

Shockingly, Tictum’s lap time was so good that it would have won the past two duels and we would later find out that his lap time of 1.12.922 seconds was the second fastest of all quarter-finals.

Quarter Final 4

Pascal Wehrelein vs Jake Dennis

Dennis took to the track and immediately looked quickly. He was up on Wehrelein for the whole lap, quite significantly, but, dropped back and only took the victory by three-hundredths of a second. Jake Dennis set a time of 1.13.002 seconds.

Unfortunately for Dennis, he hit a bollard and damaged his front wing. Ahead of the Semi-Finals, Andretti wanted to change the wing.

Semi-Finals

Both Andretti’s made it to the semi-finals along with one McLaren and one Mahindra.

Semi Final 1

Lucas Di Grassi vs André Lotterer

Lotterer started off first with Di Grassi chasing him. Lotterer spun off in turns five and six and Di Grassi was so much quicker through that section and pretty much guaranteed his place in the final. Di Grassi comfortably went through with a lap time of 1.13.012 seconds.

Semi Final 2

It was the battle of the Jakes, Jake Hughes vs Jake Dennis.

On McLaren’s Formula E debut, they seemed like they were going to get a front-row start. Jake Dennis still had a broken front wing but was still in the mix. Hughes looked like he was going to win for most of the lap. However, Jake Dennis phenomenally won the duel as Jake Hughes slid through the final few turns.

Jake Dennis won the battle with a lap time of 1.12.595 seconds.

The Final

Whoever wins this duel will take the early lead in the championship. Jake Dennis has looked brilliant all morning, however, could his broken front wing wreak havoc?

Di Grassi was the first to set his lap and Dennis started the chase. Dennis made many mistakes at the start of the lap and Di Grassi, despite sliding around, had built up a three-second margin.

Di Grassi, in his first qualifying with Mahindra, gets pole position and the first points of the year. Jake Dennis, in his post-qualifying interview, said that he was disappointed that he couldn’t change his front wing and believed that was what prevented him from getting pole position.

Di Grassi’s lap of  1.13.575 seconds was quick enough to break his 68-race streak without a pole position.

Feature Image: FIAFormulaE.com

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