Ahead of the second round of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Saudi Arabia, both ROKiT Venturi Racing's Edoardo Mortara and Mercedes-EQ's Nyck de Vries battled it out in a fierce head to head qualifying Duel, with de Vries clinching Julius Baer Pole Position by the closest margin in Formula E history, just 0.005-seconds. Ahead of the main event, we catch up with both of them as they prepare for the ultimate Mercedes-powered showdown in Saudi.
"When you lose it by just 0.005, there's a little bit of frustration," says ROKiT Venturi Racing's Edoardo Mortara moments after stepping out of his Mercedes-powered car in one of the closest qualifying showdowns in Formula E history. "But it's a very good result - a much better one than yesterday - and we know where the time is, so there was a small mistake in the first part, especially the first corner but the rest was good but it was not enough today."
Read the full QUALIFYING REPORT
Going up against Mercedes-EQ frontman and reigning champion Nyck de Vries, Mortara lost out on pole by a fraction of a second and will start the race in second behind Poleman, de Vries. "I'm pretty confident [we've got the pace]," he responded when questioned if he thought he could keep up with the Championship leader. "We clearly had the pace yesterday, so I see no reason why we shouldn't have it today."
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On the other side of the pit lane, also behind the wheel of a Mercedes, albeit a Silver Arrow, sits Mortara's target - the reigning champion de Vries. Despite clinching Pole, the Dutchman claims he could have extracted more from the car. "I will admit that I was a little bit disappointed with my last run - I always strive for the maximum and try to do the best and I don't think it was the maximum we could have extracted.
"I'm very glad it was enough because I think the team deserved it and we clearly had the upper hand but the last run wasn't good enough. I was just a touch too eager through sector two and it bit me in the rest of the lap.
"I'm happy that we got it and we need to look ahead but, again, I was disappointed with that lap."
Despite the champions' displeasure with his pole-winning performance, the showdown is a clear reminder of how strong the Mercedes-EQ powertrain is this season. With both drivers starting on the front row together, sporting all but the same performance package, get set for a showdown in the final race in Saudi Arabia later today.