Vandoorne takes Sao Paulo pole position as championship leaders miss out on duels

Stoffel Vandoorne pipped Antonio Felix da Costa to pole position for the Sao Paulo E-Prix in an exciting qualifying session


Stoffel Vandoorne took pole position for the Sao Paulo E-Prix from Antonio Felix da Costa in a closely-fought qualifying session.

Vandoorne, who says he is not worried about his deficit to championship leader Pascal Wehrlein, is the ninth different pole sitter from the last nine Formula E races as he took pole position by 0.063 seconds.

“It feels extremely good, especially after a few difficult races where qualifying didn’t really go my way – I just couldn’t put the things together,” said Vandoorne.

“But today was really an awesome job. We managed to improve everything quite a bit since the start of the year.”

Mitch Evans will start third for Jaguar after he was pipped by Da Costa in the semi-finals with just 0.040 seconds splitting the pair.

Edoardo Mortara reached the semi-finals for the first time this season to qualify fourth, whilst Sam Bird was beaten by Evans in the quarter-finals to be fifth, but has a five-grid place penalty for hitting his teammate two races ago in Hyderabad.

It means Nick Cassidy and Jake Hughes will be on the third row in a race which is expected to see plenty of strategy games due to the long straights.

Wehrlein has a shocker, Vergne and Dennis with work to do

The top three in the championship, Pascal Wehrlein, Jean-Eric Vergne and Jake Dennis, all missed out on the duels.

Wehrlein was over three tenths of a second away from a place in the knockouts and qualified 17th, which will turn to 20th due to a three-grid place penalty for causing a collision last time out in Cape Town, where he retired on the opening lap.

Vergne was fifth in his group and will start seventh, so could still be in contention for the win as DS Penske look strong in Brazil.

Jake Dennis will start 14th behind Rene Rast, Sebsatien Buemi and Nico Muller.

Home hero Lucas di Grassi hit the inside wall at Turn 8 on his first flying lap which put him out for the rest of qualifying, whilst compatriot Sergio Sette Camara will begin the E-Prix from 16th.

The inaugural Sao Paulo E-Prix will begin at 17:00 UK time.

Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports F1 where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
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