Formula E in London: Cassidy beats Evans in qualifying final & takes pole position in season finale
Nick Cassidy has secured pole position for the Formula E season finale in London. In a thrilling qualifying final on Sunday, he narrowly edged out compatriot and rival Mitch Evans (Jaguar). Envision not only celebrated first place on the grid, but also three additional world championship points that put the Jaguar customer team in the lead of the overall standings.
Group A: Cassidy sets the pace
A number of Formula E qualifying heavyweights lined up in "Death Group" A, including both Envision drivers, Sam Bird, Jake Dennis and Dan Ticktum. Jean-Eric Vergne had a bit of a scare when he almost hit Sergio Sette Camara in the penultimate corner. After a few minutes, some drivers reported light rain on the outside of the track. The fastest time in the first half of the session was set by Sebastien Buemi. Behind him on course for a spot in the duels: Bird, Ticktum and Rene Rast. Then it was time to change tires.
The lap times were now a little faster. Nick Cassidy took just under two tenths of a second off his Envision teammate Buemi and took the lead. Apart from him, however, only Dennis was able to improve notably, climbing to second place. Buemi was third, Bird fourth. Ticktum finished in fifth place and failed to qualify for the knock-out stages, just ahead of Vergne, Rast and Sette Camara. Lucas di Grassi was ninth in the group ahead of Jake Hughes and Robin Frijns.
Group B: Evans superior, Müller sensational
Group B included only one of the four Jaguar drivers, but both Nissan drivers and Pascal Wehrlein. Norman Nato was the fastest of them throughout the first laps. His teammate Sacha Fenestraz outbraked himself in turn 10 and had to turn around in the run-off zone. Behind Nato, Mitch Evans, Edo Mortara and Wehrlein followed. Then it was off to change tires for all the drivers.
Stoffel Vandoorne moved up to second position with a good lap. Then two drivers set an identical best time: Evans and Nico Müller. As the New Zealander crossed the line shortly before, he was classified in 1st place. Seconds before the end, Evans improved his lead once again. Müller, however, remained second! Nato and Vandoorne also moved into the duel phase. Behind them were Wehrlein, Mortara, Andre Lotterer, Max Günther, Fenestraz, Antonio Felix da Costa and Roberto Merhi. The next setback for Porsche in the fight for the teams' world championship: no works driver in the quarter-finals, but all four Jaguar drivers.
Overview: Formula E qualifying in London (Sunday)
QF1: Sebastien Buemi vs. Jake Dennis
Before the quarter-finals, it had started to rain. So the drivers had to adjust to new conditions. In the first duel, it was extremely close: Buemi and Dennis were almost equally fast throughout the lap. In the end, the new Formula E champion Dennis prevailed over the Swiss by 18 thousandths of a second!
QF2: Sam Bird vs. Nick Cassidy
In the second quarter-final, Bird made a small mistake early on his lap that he was unable to recover from against the ever-strong Cassidy. The Envision driver edged out his likely successor in the Jaguar factory team by a good three-tenths of a second at the end of his lap. Cassidy again into the semi-finals - an important success in the fight for the teams' world championship!
QF3: Norman Nato vs. Nico Müller
In the duel of the "underdogs," Nato got off to a much better start on his second lap. Sector 2 also went in the Frenchman's favor. Although Müller retained the upper hand in the final section of the track, the Swiss had to admit defeat with a gap of just over two and a half tenths of a second. Nato, on the other hand, confirmed his strong form of recent weeks and advanced to the final four.
QF4: Stoffel Vandoorne vs. Mitch Evans
The final quarter-final went as expected, with Evans pulling out an early lead over Vandoorne and steadily extending it as his lap progressed. In the end, he was 2.39 tenths of a second faster than the DS Penske driver and completed the semi-final in commanding fashion.
SF1: Jake Dennis vs. Nick Cassidy
Dennis was allowed to go first and led the way. Cassidy, however, was almost identically fast in the first sector. Also in the second section of the track, the two opponents gave each other nothing. Now it came down to the last sector. There, Cassidy took a good tenth of a second off the Brit. The bottom line was that he was minimally faster in all three parts of the circuit and deservedly moved into the qualifying finals.
SF2: Norman Nato vs. Mitch Evans
Evans lived up to his role as favorite in the semi-finals. Sector 1 went to the Jaguar driver, and so did quite clearly Sector 2. At the end of his lap, the Jaguar driver took a total of more than half a second off Nato and qualified without any doubt for the decisive duel for pole position. Accordingly, the final was the same as the day before: Nick Cassidy versus Mitch Evans. Nato's time, however, was faster than Dennis' - 3rd place on the grid for the Nissan driver!
Final: Nick Cassidy vs. Mitch Evans
On Saturday, Evans had prevailed, overall the duel history of the two "Kiwis", however, it was a 1-1 draw. This time, Evans managed the to get the minimally better start in the final. However, the second sector went in Cassidy's favor, who thus took the virtual lead! In sector 3, Evans was only able to make minimal gains and thus finished one hundredth of a second behind!
The pole position at the season finale thus went to Cassidy and Envision! The Jaguar customer team also enjoyed three important championship points, which gave Sylvain Filippi's team the lead in the championship. The final round of the season will be about the title between the two racing teams with Jaguar power, although Porsche and Andretti also still have theoretical chances. The Formula E season finale starts early Sunday evening at 6 p.m. (CEST).