In a chaotic qualifying session in which none of the title contenders advanced to the duels, Jake Dennis edged out Lucas di Grassi to win back-to-back pole positions for Sunday’s London E-Prix.
With Dennis leading di Grassi by just 0.012 seconds at the end of the first sector, it appeared that their even lap times from the quarter- and semi-finals would continue throughout the opening timing loops.
Dennis gained a tenth in the following sector after opening up a little gap, but di Grassi’s error in the penultimate sector handed the Avalanche Andretti another pole.
However, Dennis considered his final 1m12.535s to be “one of my best laps in Formula E,” adding that di Grassi’s margin of more than two seconds was exacerbated by the mistake made by the Venturi driver.
Dennis had passed Antonio Felix da Costa, who trailed by 0.14 seconds after the first sector, a quarter of a second after the second, and more than three tenths of a second at the lap’s completion.
With nearly two tenths of a second in each sector advantage over the Nissan e.dams driver, Dennis earlier eliminated Sebastien Buemi in his quarterfinal matchup with seeming ease. Dennis crossed the finish line with more than half a second to spare.
However, Antonio Giovinazzi’s time of 1m12.962s was good enough for third place in an all-Antonio second row. Despite his heroics in qualifying, the Italian was unable to defeat a strong di Grassi to a finals berth.
Nick Cassidy’s first sector was more than 0.5 seconds behind da Costa. As a result, his prospects of making the semi-finals were doomed despite his best efforts. Thus, Da Costa advanced without difficulty.
In a closely contested race, Giovinazzi defeated Nyck de Vries to advance to the semifinals. De Vries dropped a half-tenth in the first sector but made up ground by the second sector, until a major lock-up on the run to Turn 16 gave the Dragon Penske driver a slim lead once more.
Oliver Askew was racing against di Grassi when he collided with the wall at Turn 8, ruining any chance of him meeting teammate Dennis in the semifinals. After passing the trundling Andretti driver, the Brazilian kept up the pressure on his lap, matching Dennis’s lap in the quarters to highlight the Venturi package’s fast pace.
De Vries, who was eliminated in the quarterfinals, starts fifth ahead of Buemi, Cassidy, who is back in seventh place, and Askew, who is eighth following his collision with the wall.
Both Edoardo Mortara and Stoffel Vandoorne were eliminated from their qualifying “group of death,” which included several top contenders for the title.
After the initial runs, Mortara dropped to the bottom of the timing board, and while being able to improve to finish with the ninth-fastest time out of the 11 racers, he struggled at the London location.
More unexpected was Vandoorne’s failure to advance following a severe Turn 1 lock-up. Andre Lotterer was the slowest of the group, and Sergio Sette Camara was eliminated in 10th after failing to duplicate his Saturday heroics.
While Vandoorne and Mortara anxiously observed the action in the second group, Mitch Evans and Jean-Eric Vergne, the two contenders for the championship, were eliminated in their respective matches.
Vergne appeared poised to finish first, but he lost three tenths in the final sector and could only move up to third, where he remained until Buemi maneuvered himself into the battles, moving him to fourth.
Vergne was eliminated by Giovinazzi at the end of the practice, and while the Italian had laps taken away for overpower usage, his fastest lap was not among them.
Maximilian Gunther, who achieved his best performance of the season on Saturday, begins ahead of Vergne in position ten. Vandoorne, Evans, and Mortara, three title contenders, start in those positions, respectively, 13th, 14th, and 17.