Berlin E-Prix: Points leader Da Costa clinches stunning pole position

Matt Kew
·3-min read
Da Costa clinches pole for opening Berlin E-Prix
Da Costa clinches pole for opening Berlin E-Prix

Antonio Felix da Costa scored a critical third Formula E pole position for the first Berlin E-Prix with a stunning lap to beat his DS Techeetah team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

The points leader set the fastest time of the day with a 1m06.799s to pull a clear 0.322s margin over Vergne, who still snared his best qualifying result of the season in second.

Despite missing the Turn 1 apex, da Costa recovered 0.02s in the opening sector and then close to a further two tenths in the second split in a session where his title rivals faltered.

Andre Lotterer was best of the non-DS Techeetah cars in third, having snatched provisional pole away from Jerome D'Ambrosio in the early stages of superpole - despite the Porsche driver having been unable to deploy his maximum 250kW mode during practice.

A poor second sector dropped Nissan e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi down to fourth, which he blamed on mid-corner understeer.

Reigning FIA Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries was a messy fifth, having picked up the throttle too early through the long final Turn 10 which resulted in a spike of oversteer.

Sam Bird, who lost two tenths in the first sector, was best of the non-superpole qualifiers after he was eclipsed to sixth by group three runner D'Ambrosio by 0.004s.

First practice pacesetter Rowland was also shuffled down the order to eighth for Nissan, but he still beat Mitch Evans, who enters the race second in the points to da Costa.

Da Costa clinches pole for opening Berlin E-Prix
Da Costa clinches pole for opening Berlin E-Prix

Evans' practice set-up issues continued across into qualifying, with the Jaguar comfortably 0.4s in arrears of the fastest DS Techeetah pace.

A wild lap from Massa, owed to the rear tyres fading in the last sector, earned him ninth ahead of Robin Frijns and a 12th-place start for the returning Alex Lynn.

Maximilian Guenther headed a bad run for BMW Andretti in 13th, with team-mate Alexander Sims - third in the points - way down in 17th.

A near-crash in the final sector for Lucas di Grassi, who has a 100% podium record at Tempelhof, meant double DTM champion Rene Rast's effort for 14th was enough to win the intra-team Audi battle.

Edoardo Mortara in the Mercedes-powered Venturi car ran 15th while Stoffel Vandoorne, in the parent Mercedes machine, was just 16th.

Daniel Abt was 22nd on his debut for NIO 333, beating a messy lap from Dragon recruit Sergio Sette Camara - who twice hit the wall - and James Calado.

The second Jaguar driver, who missed practice due to a powertrain and battery swap that earns him a 60-place grid penalty, was a distant 24th.

Berlin E-Prix qualifying results

Pos

Driver

Team

Gap

1

Antonio Felix da Costa

DS Techeetah

1m07.122s

2

Sebastien Buemi

e.dams

0.145s

3

Jean-Eric Vergne

DS Techeetah

0.152s

4

Nyck de Vries

Mercedes

0.186s

5

Andre Lotterer

Porsche

0.332s

6

Jerome d'Ambrosio

Mahindra

0.366s

7

Sam Bird

Virgin

0.370s

8

Oliver Rowland

e.dams

0.399s

9

Mitch Evans

Jaguar

0.433s

10

Felipe Massa

Venturi

0.441s

11

Robin Frijns

Virgin

0.459s

12

Alex Lynn

Mahindra

0.524s

13

Maximilian Guenther

BMW

0.563s

14

Rene Rast

Audi

0.655s

15

Edoardo Mortara

Venturi

0.704s

16

Stoffel Vandoorne

Mercedes

0.871s

17

Alexander Sims

BMW

0.874s

18

Neel Jani

Porsche

0.892s

19

Oliver Turvey

NIO

0.967s

20

Nico Muller

Dragon

0.996s

21

Lucas di Grassi

Audi

1.014s

22

Daniel Abt

NIO

1.432s

23

Sergio Sette Camara

Dragon

1.506s

24

James Calado

Jaguar

3.072s

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