Season 2 champion Buemi secured his 16th Julius Baer Pole Position in Formula E, earning him the record of most poles in the all-electric championship - pulling one clear of Jean-Eric Vergne (DS PENSKE). The Envision Racing driver went up against Jaguar TCS Racing’s Sam Bird in the Final, in a Jaguar powertrain showdown to close a session that was full of surprises.
With both Buemi and Bird powered by the Jaguar I-TYPE 6, it was always going to be a close call. But it was Buemi who managed his 16th career Julius Baer Pole Position by over a tenth to second-place Sam Bird. Despite losing out on top spot, it was still a strong result here in Berlin for factory Jaguar driver Bird who had never started on the front row in his 15 previous Tempelhof starts.
Despite explaining he’d made several mistakes in his lap around Turn 9 and 10, Buemi scored his second pole position of the season. That also brought an end to the record run of nine different polesitters in the last nine races in Formula E. Buemi, who is dealing with an injured hand and recently becoming a father and came into Berlin off the back of an FIA World Endurance Championship victory in Portimao, has won from pole once in the last six years, which was in New York back in 2019. This was also his last Formula E win, too. However, not a single polesitter has converted in the GEN3 era to-date.
“I was a bit surprised to be on pole,” he stated. “It's true that the lap was not great - I made a couple of mistakes in Turns 9 and 10, the last two corners. It was amazing hearing over the radio and a great celebration. After this week and with what happened in Sao Paulo with my hand it's very special. It's been a tough couple of weeks with the hand and not knowing when the baby would arrive but it's turned out great!”
Buemi went first in the Semis, taking on reigning champ, DS PENSKE’s Stoffel Vandoorne. The Swiss driver had looked competitive all weekend, and is still on the hunt for a first podium this season but went one step closer by winning his battle to make it on the front row of the grid in sunny Berlin while the Belgian and reigning champ would settle for third spot on the grid. This marked the second time Buemi beat Vandoorne in the Duels this season, after doing the same during the Quarters in Diriyah.
The second Semi was Bird versus Ticktum, with the Jaguar of Bird already guaranteed his first top four start in Tempelhof in his last 13 visits here at the circuit. It was close, but it was Bird who finished ahead and secured himself a front row start around the Berlin track. Ticktum’s best career start is fourth, which he managed in Diriyah’s first race this year, but has now equalled that in Berlin.
First up it was a teammate battle at Envision Racing as both Buemi and Cassidy went head-to-head. In the ultimate fight between two drivers in equal machinery, it was Buemi who finished ahead, knocking out Cassidy who will start sixth despite the latter putting in a great final sector. An impressive performance from the Season 2 champ, who is still suffering with a hand injury he picked up last time out in São Paulo.
Vandoorne comfortably beat the NIO 333 of Sergio Sette Camara by three tenths to progress into the Semis, while the Brazilian will line up seventh.
However, on the other side of the garage there was celebration as Ticktum made it through beating the Maserati MSG Racing of Maximilian Guenther in a shocking twist. The Maserati man had topped FP2 and finished second in his group, but a lock up at Turn 9 ruined his chances of progressing and handed Ticktum his second Semis appearance the season. Guenther starts eighth.
Finally, it was a battle of the Brits as the Avalanche Andretti of Jake Dennis went up against Jaguar TCS Racing’s Sam Bird. Despite Dennis setting the quickest second and third sectors on the lap, it was Bird who soared into the Semis by a tiny 0.061s margin to his countryman. Dennis will start Round 7 from fifth position.
This group has been the place to be so far this season, with the Julius Baer Pole Position holder coming from the quickest driver in Group A in the last four races.
DS PENSKE's reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne went fastest in the group, having achieved pole last time out in Formula E’s first visit to São Paulo. Just behind him was the double trouble of the Envision Racing duo of Bumei and Cassidy, who would face each other in the Quarters in the Duels stages.
However, the story of the session was the fantastic lap from NIO’s Sergio Sette Camara who managed to improve on his final lap and sneak into fourth, making his way into the next stages of the Duels. The one-lap pace of the NIO has been seen at several points so far this session and Sette Camara was able to pull a great lap out of the bag again when it mattered in the last moments of the session.
For home heroes TAG Heuer Porsche, Antonio Felix da Costa ended Group A in 10th, his worst performance in the Groups this year. His teammate and current championship leader, Pascal Wehrlein, could only manage eighth in Group A too - the same he did last time out in Brazil.
In the final minutes of the session, drivers opted for a swap of Hankook tyres as a result of this track surface being incredibly abrasive. One of those was the Jaguar of Mitch Evans, however it didn’t help as the São Paulo race winner was knocked out the Duels to finish the group fifth.
Jaguar’s Sam Bird topped the second qualifying group, being the only driver of the Group B squad to break into the 1m05s bracket. The Briton hasn't reached the final part of qualifying in Berlin, whether that be Super Pole or the Duels stages, in any of his last 12 starts on this track.
NIO’s qualifying went from strength to strength, after Dan Ticktum joined his teammate into the Quarters. This is a landmark occasion for the team, who have come close but never had both their cars in the Duels stages since the format was introduced at the start of Season 8.
Maximilian Guenther kept the German crowd happy, as he continued his strong run of form and made it through to the Duels. The Maserati driver topped the timesheets in FP2 earlier in the day, and qualified for his fourth consecutive Duels stage appearance in 2023.
Lastly, Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis, who still sits second in the championship, stole the final spot in the Duels by finishing fourth in his group.