Formula E

Formula E in Shanghai: Hughes beats Vandoorne by 1 thousandth of a second in the qualifying final!

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

McLaren driver Jake Hughes took pole position in Sunday's Shanghai E-Prix race - with the smallest gap in Formula E history in a qualifying final. In the duel with Stoffel Vandoorne (DS Penske), the Briton was a thousandth of a second faster. Antonio Felix da Costa (Porsche) and Nyck de Vries (Mahindra) will start the race from the second row.

Group A: Top 5 within 43 thousandths of a second!

Three Jaguar cars were among those on the grid in Group A. After four minutes, Nick Cassidy was instructed by his team to complete two push laps in a row. He was actually the fastest in all three sectors, but aborted his lap and came into the pits to change tyres - as did everyone else after just under eight minutes. By then, Stoffel Vandoorne had set the fastest time. Behind him were Max Günther, Jake Dennis and Oliver Rowland.

With fresh tyres, there were still some improvements. Rowland was fastest, followed by Vandoorne. Cassidy finished third and Nyck de Vries also surprisingly qualified for the quarter-finals. The top five were within 43 thousandths of a second of each other! Günther, Sacha Fenestraz, Dan Ticktum, Dennis, Jehan Daruvala and the two Envision drivers Robin Frijns and Sebastien Buemi were eliminated from the group.

Group B: Hughes impresses, Vergne & Wehrlein out

Some "heavyweights" had to race in Group B, including Saturday's winner Mitch Evans, both Porsche drivers and the pole-sitter from the previous day, Jean-Eric Vergne. However, someone else was fastest on the first run: Jake Hughes. He was followed by Evans, Antonio Felix da Costa and Sergio Sette Camara in the interim Top 4. As the sun came out more and more, the track also got warmer.

Hughes once again set the fastest time in the decisive run, pushing  Felix da Costa off the top spot. However, the Portuguese remained second. Evans and Norman Nato also qualified for the duels. Vergne surprisingly retired in fifth place, and Pascal Wehrlein also had to bow out in the group stage in seventh place. Sam Bird finished between the two. Also not in the quarter-finals: Sette Camara, Nico Müller, Lucas di Grassi and Edo Mortara.


QF1: Nick Cassidy vs Stoffel Vandoorne

In the first quarter-final, Cassidy got off to the better start. However, Vandoorne then turned up the heat: Although he had a relatively large gap in the meantime, he beat the runner-up in the Jaguar by six thousandths of a second. Vandoorne in the semi-finals!

QF2: Nyck de Vries vs Oliver Rowland

In the second duel, Rowland initially got off to the better start, but de Vries was able to counter and pulled out a lead of almost two tenths of a second on his remaining lap! There was jubilation in the Mahindra garage at this outstanding and sensational qualifying performance by the Dutchman.

QF3: Mitch Evans vs Antonio Felix da Costa

Felix da Costa took the first sector in a duel with Evans, and the second section also went to the Portuguese driver in Porsche service. Felix da Costa was even faster in the third sector and qualified for the semi-final with a commanding lead of 1.36 tenths of a second. The next little surprise.

QF4: Norman Nato vs Jake Hughes

Sector 1 in the last quarter-final belonged to group winner Hughes, as did the second section. Even though Nato was able to fight back again in sector 3, it was not enough for the Frenchman. Just under a tenth of a second behind, Nato had to admit defeat. Hughes, on the other hand, completed the final four.


SF1: Nyck de Vries vs Stoffel Vandoorne

In the duel between the former Mercedes team-mates, de Vries was clearly slower than Vandoorne. The Mahindra driver was able to close the gap in the second section of the race. In the end, however, it was enough for Vandoorne, who was more than two tenths of a second faster.

SF2: Jake Hughes vs Antonio Felix da Costa

Hughes showed no weakness in the second semi-final and continued his strong qualifying. He was better than Felix da Costa in all three sectors and confidently advanced to the final against Vandoorne by 1.34 tenths of a second.

Final: Stoffel Vandoorne vs Jake Hughes

Vandoorne and Hughes last met on Misano Sunday, with the Briton in the McLaren coming out on top. Vandoorne got off to the better start in the Shanghai final. However, sector 2 went clearly to Hughes. Now it came down to the final section. Although Hughes was slightly slower here, the McLaren driver actually had a one-thousandth of a second advantage in the end, securing his fourth pole position in Formula E! The three world championship points that went with it also went to Woking.

The twelfth race of the 2024 Formula E season will take place on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. (CEST).

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