TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein has tied the Formula E record for most Julius Baer Pole Positions at a single circuit with three, after he stormed to first place in an intense qualifying in Mexico City. The German driver has won at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez before in Season 8, when he clinched Porsche’s first win - heading a maiden one-two for the Stuttgart outfit - in Formula E, and he will hope to repeat history later today.
Wehrlein took on Envision Racing’s Sebastien Buemi in the Final of the Duel, with both Jaguar TCS Racing drivers being knocked out in the Semis. Reigning champion Jake Dennis was knocked out during the Group stages and will start 14th in a shocking twist as he fights to retain his title in Season 10.
Wehrlein's a Mexico master, with all of his Formula E poles coming in the country - three here in Mexico City and one in Puebla. The German has led more laps than anyone else in Mexico City, so the rest have it all to do to depose him come Round 1 at 14:00 local time.
The last battle for pole position was between Buemi and Wehrlein. Pascal didn’t reach a Duel Final at all in Season 9, with his last chance at the 2022 Monaco E-Prix when he was beaten by Jaguar’s Mitch Evams.
Buemi reached the Duel final twice last season, and took pole position on both of those occasions in Diriyah and Berlin. However, it was Wehrlein who took pole, his first since Mexico here since Season 8.
Pascal Wehrlein took on the new Jaguar TCS Racing driver Nick Cassidy in the Semis, with Cassidy the likely favourite after not losing a Semi-final since Cape Town almost a year ago. Nevertheless, it was the Porsche driver who made his way into the Final – a master of Mexico. The German has won here before in Season 8 - his first Formula E victory, and indeed Porsche's - as well as winding up second last year. For Cassidy, he has never started in the top eight on this track until now.
Next came Mitch Evans versus Buemi, who last met in a Semi-final at the Rome E-Prix last year when Evans came out on top. Buemi had only won one of his last six Semi-final Duels, but ended that drought by beating Evans by +0.340s. Buemi has never started on the front row in Mexico City, as his best result was third in 2018. Evans, and his teammate Cassidy, also have one-place grid penalties for the race today after failing to go back enter
into its garage during a Red Flag period yesterday.
First up in the Duels was Stoffel Vandoorne (DS PENSKE) and Cassidy. These two had met before, at both rounds during the 2022 New York City E-Prix double-header. There Cassidy came out on top, and he continued that trend here, securing a hat-trick of wins against the Season 8 champion. Vandoorne has not won a duel since Berlin in April last year, and also starts this race with a one-place grid penalty for a Red Flag offence in yesterday’s practice. By making the Duels, Cassidy is guaranteed a best-ever Mexico start.
Next up was Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein and Envision Racing driver Robin Frijns. However, for the man quickest in Group A, a rare mistake heading into the first corner instantly put him on the back foot. Frijns approached Turn 1 with too much speed, and almost made contact with the barriers at Turn 2 as he got himself on the grass. Wehrlein kept his nose clean to progress into the Semis. The German took his first and most recent career poles at this track back in 2019 and 2022, with his other career pole being at the other Mexican track in Puebla.
The third encounter was between Buemi and Hughes. Hughes reached the Semis on his Formula E debut here last year, but he wasn’t able to do so this time around. Swiss racer Buemi made the Duels for a fifth consecutive race.
Finally, it was time for Evans and Maximilian Guenther. Jaguar driver Evans reached the Duels 12 times last year, more than any other driver, and won nine of his 12 Quarters appearances last season. He flew through the session, setting the quickest time we had seen over the weekend so far, a 1m13.103s. For Guenther, he’ll still be happy at securing his best-ever starting position in Mexico City.
Formula E’s first qualifying of the year got underway at 09:40 local time, with the drivers wasting no time heading out onto the track. Vandoorne was the first to get a time in, with the DS PENSKE driver finishing fifth during the morning’s practice session. The Season 8 champ was also involved in an incident with Cassidy, with Vandoorne slow and in the way of the new Jaguar signing. The incident was noted by the Stewards.
Robin Frijns was quickest of the session, the first time he has been top in a qualifying group since the trip to New York in 2022. Vandoorne finished second, with Cassidy and Wehrlein rounding out the top four.
Norman Nato kissed the barriers on the entry to the iconic Foro Sol stadium and narrowly managed to avoid any serious damage and contact with the wall. He missed out on a chance in the Duels as he ended the session in fifth but saw his lap time deleted.
ABT CUPRA returnee Lucas di Grassi had a whack with the barriers, on what is the team’s 100th E-Prix in Formula E. The Season 3 champion lost the rear of his car, hitting the wall at Turn 9, before limping back to the pits. ERT’s Dan Ticktum was on a strong lap, before he was impacted by flying debris from di Grassi’s incident.
Jehan Daruvala did a promising job in his first Formula E qualifying with Maserati MSG Racing. The Indian driver finished the session in ninth, with a time of 1m14.469s which was sixth tenths off what Frijns achieved.
The next group was much less eventful on-track, with Maximilian Guenther going top. Joining him in the Duels were Hughes, Buemi and Evans, but big names failed to make it through. Andretti’s Jake Dennis could only manage a best of seventh, overcooking it at the hairpin to go wide – the same mistake he made in the Duels here last year. DS PENSKE’s Jean-Eric Vergne just missed out in fifth, with the TAG Heuer Porsche of Antonio Felix da Costa only getting eighth.
Plenty of eyes are on Nyck de Vries at Mahindra Racing as the Season 7 champ makes his return to Formula E. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, he finished the session in 11th place and last of his group.
Where, when and how to watch or stream the 2024 Hankook Mexico City E-Prix
The opening round of Season 10 is next and gets underway at 14:00 local/20:00 UTC.