Mercedes' Vandoorne pinches Pole ahead of first race in Rome

Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) claimed a convincing Julius Baer Pole Position, fending off Envision's Robin Frijns in the Final Duel around the Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR street circuit, ahead of Round 4 in Rome. 

Heading down into Turn 3, Dutchman Robin Frijns lost time in the final, handing the lead to his rival Mercedes-EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne. Despite his best efforts to catch him, Frijns failed to make up for the lost time as the Mercedes driver claimed his second Pole this season. With a win in the Eternal city already under his belt last year, could we see another victory for Vandoorne on the streets of Rome? 

RESULTS: Qualifying ahead of the 2022 Rome E-Prix

"I was on pole here last year - every lap I did seemed to be good, so I'm very happy with that," said Vandoorne moments after securing the Julius Baer Pole Position. "Rome has historically been very good for me. You have to be so on the edge of the car but that's what I like to do." 

That marks Mercedes-EQ's third pole in four rounds as the Mercedes-EQ powertrain continues to prove its dominance in the all-electric series. As for Frijns, the Dutchman just lost out on Pole and will start the race in second. 

"There were too many mistakes from my part. I think I definitely could have matched Stoffel but I'm happy with P2," said Frijns. "I just feel very confident in the car this season - we're all on high risk during the [qualifying] laps."

WAYS TO WATCH: Where and how to watch every minute of Season 8

Coverage of the 2022 Rome E-Prix follows at 15:00 local time.

The Semis

Both Dutch drivers Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) and Envision's Robin Frijns went head to head in the semifinal, battling it out around the Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR street circuit in Rome. Taking an early lead, Frijns led de Vries and maintained his lead by a narrow 0.113 seconds. Frijns made it through to the final. 

In the second semifinal Duel, both Mercedes' Stoffel Vandoorne and DS TECHEETAH's Antonio Felix da Costa went head to head in a close-fought battle for the final. The Dutchman had the edge - only just - and made it through to the final after posting a 1m38.971s lap - just 0.015s faster than da Costa. 

The Quarters

Despite two respectable laps from Mercedes' Nyck de Vries and Avalanche Andretti's Jake Dennis, a clinical lap from de Vries saw the Dutchman go 0.308s faster than his Duel rival Jake Dennis, who couldn't match the pace of the Mercedes. De Vries makes it through to the Semis.

Next up, Envision's Robin Frijns kept it neat and tidy through the technical Rome circuit to post a lap that was 0.718 faster than Porsche's Andre Lotterer. The Dutchman made it through to the Semis to go up against his countryman Nyck de Vries. 

A close-fought race between two former Rome race winners Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne saw Vandoorne post a lap that was 0.509 faster than Vergne. Joining his teammate, both Mercedes drivers made it through to the Semis. 

Fresh from his win in Mexico City, Pascal Wehrlein did his best to catch DS TECHEETAH's Antonio Felix da Costa but the DS driver put 0.325 on the German driver to make it through to the Semis. Despite Porsche's promising performance in Mexico, neither drivers made it beyond the Quarters. 

The Groups

Group A saw Avalanche Andretti's Jake Dennis top the timesheets in the Groups with a 1m40.069s lap, followed closely by Envision Racing's Robin Frijns with a 1m40.128s, which was matched by former Rome winner Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ). A nightmare for both Jaguar TCS Racing's Mitch Evans and Sam Bird who failed to make it beyond the Groups, with both drivers blocked by traffic.

"We had really good speed in P1 and 2," said Team Principal James Barclay. "Both Mitch and Sam had traffic and we just couldn't get a break with the traffic. It's tough. We have to take it on the chin." 

As for Championship leader Edoardo Mortara, the ROKiT Venturi driver failed to make it through and dropped out in the Groups. With only a marginal lead early in the Championship, the Swiss driver will be looking to make his way up the order in the race to extend his lead here in Rome.

After a morning of trouble for Mahindra Racing's Oliver Rowland, the British driver spun at Turn 10, which brought out the Yellow flag while the other drivers were on their last flying laps.  

Making it through to the Duels was reigning champion Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ), who went head to head with Jake Dennis. Porsche's Andre Lotterer lined up against Envision's Robin Frijns, while Mercedes' Stoffel Vandoorne went up against DS TECHEETAH's Jean-Eric Vergne and Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein went head to head with former champion and DS TECHEETAH driver Antonio Felix da Costa.