Formula E in India: Mitch Evans on pole position at Hyderabad E-Prix, track limits cause chaos
Mitch Evans has secured pole position in Formula E qualifying in Hyderabad. The Jaguar driver prevailed in a thrilling duel against Jean-Eric Vergne, who curiously qualified for the final without a fight. Prior to this, numerous track limit infringements had caused time cancellations and confusion. From the second row of the grid Sebastien Buemi and Sacha Fenestraz go into the race..
Group A: Hughes flies but is penalized.
Group A first had to drive the dust off the track again. After the first few laps, Sacha Fenestraz in the Nissan was fastest. Mitch Evans, Oliver Rowland and Sergio Sette Camara followed in the top 4. Lucas di Grassi braked in Sector 3 and had to turn his Mahindra around after a trip into the run-off zone. Pascal Wehrlein cut short in Chicane 12/13. Evans still moved past Fenestraz in the timesheets, then it was time for all drivers to pit for tire changes.
Wehrlein started his fast lap before most of the other drivers and thus found himself in traffic. He ventured a new attempt. First, however, others crossed the line: Jake Hughes set a new best time, pushing ahead of Evans and Fenestraz. Apart from that, only Sebastien Buemi improved into the top 4 - two Jaguars and two Nissans supposedly in the duel phase. But then the bad news for McLaren: Because Hughes had fallen short of the minimum time at the pit stop, race control deleted his two best lap times. As a result, the Briton dropped back, with Max Günther moving up into the top 4 - his first Gen3 duel participation.
World championship leader Pascal Wehrlein finished in 5th position, meaning he will only start the race from the fifth row of the grid. Rowland, Antonio Felix da Costa, Sette Camara and Stoffel Vandoorne lined up behind him. Behind them originally came only di Grassi, who made another braking mistake and thus threw away his chances of a good starting position at the Mahindra home race. Hughes had to get in line at the back.
Group B: Rast fastest, van der Linde crashes.
In the second group, some of Formula E's "heavyweights" went chasing times. Even the first attempts were faster than the best time in Group A. Jean-Eric Vergne initially turned the fastest lap, followed by Rene Rast, Sam Bird and Nico Müller. Then came the first red flag of the day: Kelvin van der Linde stopped in the emergency exit of turn 16. As in the shakedown, the wheels on ABT Cupra's M9Electro had locked up early on, so that the South African could only slide straight ahead and once again drove slightly head-on into the tire piles. Van der Linde cursed on the radio. His car had to be towed away.
After a few minutes break, the race continued. Initially, only Nick Cassidy improved to 4th place - also because some competitors disregarded the track limits, and their laps were therefore not scored. Rast set the fastest lap time shortly after time expired, but otherwise there were hardly any improvements. Edo Mortara alone made it to 4th place and joined Rast, Vergne and Bird in the duels. Cassidy narrowly missed out to Jake Dennis, Norman Nato and Dan Ticktum. Müller, Andre Lotterer and van der Linde made up the final group.
Overview: Formula E qualifying at Hyderabad
VF1: Sebastien Buemi vs. Sacha Fenestraz
The first duel was very close. Buemi, however, managed the slightly better start, from which he was to benefit in the end. After two almost equally strong sectors, the two rivals were separated by just a tenth of a second in the end. Envision driver Buemi again qualified for the semifinals, but Fenestraz in the Nissan also departed with his head held high.
VF2: Max Guenther vs. Mitch Evans
Günther already lost a good three-tenths of a second in the first sector to Evans, who, however, was also very fast. In the second section of the track, two more tenths joined them. In the end, Evans was more than a full second faster than Günther, as the German also lost a good four tenths of a second in the final sector. Evans sovereign in the semifinals, Günther at least in the fourth row of the grid.
VF3: Sam Bird vs. Jean-Eric Vergne
Sam Bird underlined his current top form and took two tenths of a second off his former teammate Vergne already in the first sector. In the second part of the track he was also minimally faster, but in sector 3 Vergne countered and again made up two tenths of a second. Still, Bird was three hundredths of a second faster. In the end, none of that mattered: due to a "track limits" offense, Bird's time was cancelled - Vergne thus moved on.
VF4: Edo Mortara vs. Rene Rast
In this eagerly anticipated duel, Mortara got off to the slightly better start. In the second section, however, Rast caught up again and was well on the way. Sector 3 was to bring the decision, as Rast made a mistake in chicane 12/13 that cost him half a second. But then things got chaotic because both Mortara and Rast had exceeded the track limits, so their lap times were cancelled. For a long time it was completely unclear which of the two would advance to the semifinals. In the end, the decision of the race organizers was: none.
HF1: Sebastien Buemi vs. Mitch Evans
In the first semifinal, however, everything was clear: Buemi was driving against Evans. Both started with an almost identical first sector time. In the second part of the course, however, Evans was a tenth of a second faster. In the end, he even extended his lead to almost three tenths of a second. Evans thus sovereign in the final, Buemi on the second row of the grid.
HF2: Jean-Eric Vergne
Curiose premiere in the second semifinal: Because both Rast and Mortara had finished the quarterfinal without a lap time, there was only one participant in the second semifinal for the first time in Formula E history. Jean-Eric Vergne formally completed one lap and paid meticulous attention to keeping within the track limits. Unsurprisingly, the double Formula E champion was in the qualifying final in Hyderabad a little later.
Final: Jean-Eric Vergne vs. Mitch Evans
The final duel in India was opened by Vergne. The Frenchman showed a decent first sector, which was marginally faster than that of his opponent. In sector 2, Evans was again minimally better - a gripping duel for grid position 1! Sector 3 went to Vergne, but on balance Evans prevailed by 21 thousandths of a second. Pole position and three world championship points for the 2022 runner-up and Jaguar Racing!
The fourth race of the 2023 Formula E season starts on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. (CET). ProSieben will broadcast the Hyderabad E-Prix live on free TV, ran.de on livestream. We accompany the race as usual in our popular Hankook Formula E Liveticker..