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Formula E

Mortara claims shock Berlin pole whilst Dennis slams Andretti 'shambles'

Edoardo Mortara secured Mahindra's first points of Season 10 by claiming pole position for the opening race of the Berlin double-header.

Mortara Berlin
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To news overview © Dom Romney / Formula E

Edoardo Mortara stunned the Formula E paddock by claiming pole position for the ninth round of the Formula E season in Berlin, after defeating Stoffel Vandoorne in the final. 

Mortara progressed to the final after defeating Jehan Daruvala and Jean-Eric Vergne in the quarter-final and then the semi-final, before setting the quickest lap of the weekend in the final and securing Mahindra its first points of 2024.

As for Vandoorne, he made the final after beating Maximilian Günther and then Sergio Sette Camara in the duels, before falling short of pole after a disappointing second sector.

Vergne will start in third with Sette Camara in fourth, whilst it will be Günther and Wehrlein on the third row. 

It was a woeful session for Jake Dennis, who was slowest in Group A but will not start in last as a result of penalties elsewhere. He labelled Andretti's current qualifying woes as a "shambles" whilst speaking to Formula E

Group stage

The first qualifying group featured several big hitters, including the championship leader Wehrlein and the reigning champion Dennis. Monaco winner Mitch Evans also featured, as did rookie drivers Jordan King and Joel Eriksson. 

King is replacing Nyck de Vries in Berlin, whilst Eriksson is standing in for Robin Frijns. Staggeringly, it was a Mahindra one-two following the first flying laps, with Daruvala and Antonio Felix da Costa provisionally occupying third and fourth – Daruvala has a 40-place grid penalty following two gearbox changes.

Come the end of the group and there was significant change, except for at the very top. Mortara ended the group as the fastest driver, ahead of Wehrlein, Vergne and Daruvala who all made the duels. Evans could only manage sixth whilst Dennis was slowest and 0.491s off the pace. 

Group B saw championship contenders Nick Cassidy and Oliver Rowland attempt to make the duels, whilst rookie Paul Aron got his first taste of Formula E qualifying. The F2 driver is replacing Sebastian Buemi this weekend, whilst Kelvin van der Linde has returned to fill in for Nico Müller. Taylor Barnard is also in for Sam Bird once again. 

Midway through the group and it was Abt Cupra's Di Grassi at the top of the timesheets, proving that the Mahindra-powertrain is working well in Berlin. He was provisionally joined in the top four by Cassidy, Günther and Jake Hughes.

Once again, there was several improvements in the dying seconds of the group but not at the top, as veteran Di Grassi topped the session. Günther also remained in the top four but it was Vandoorne and Sette Camara who claimed third and fourth. Cassidy was fifth, whilst Rowland was eighth.

Quarter-Finals

Into the duels and the first quarter-final saw Wehrlein battle against Vergne. The DS Penske driver had the better of the championship leader and went 0.082s faster, after posting a 1:02.212.

Targeting to meet Vergne in the semi-finals was rookie Daruvala and Mortara. Mortara demonstrated excellent pace once again, going over two-tenths faster than Daruvala courtesy of a 1:02.078. 

It was an all-Stellantis powertrain affair in the third quarter-final, as Vandoorne and Günther went against one another. Vandoorne came out victorious after becoming the first driver to dip into the 1:09s.

The final duel in the quarter-finals was one for the underdogs, as Sette Camara went up against Di Grassi. Despite being fastest in Group B, Di Grassi was eliminated after going two-tenths slower than Sette Camara.

Semi-Finals

With so many big names having been knocked out earlier in qualifying, the opening semi-final marked a huge chance for Mortara to get Mahindra into the final. However, Vergne was in his way. 

Just one-thousandth of a second separated the pair through the opening two sectors, but Mortara posted a mighty final sector to defeat the two-time champion. The Swiss star set a rapid 1:01.850 to progress to the final.

It was between Sette Camara and Vandoorne in the other semi-final, with Sette Camara having been targeting ERT's first final appearance of 2024. 

Unfortunately for ERT, Vandoorne set a stellar 1:01.844, which Sette Camara had no answer to. 

Final

Whilst qualifying is expected to be fairly irrelevant due to the peloton-style of racing forecast for Berlin, it still marked a huge chance for Vandoorne and Mortara to secure three championship points.

Mortara had the edge in the first sector by just 0.011s but increased his advantage significantly in the second sector. The Swiss driver ultimately secured pole and Mahindra's first points of the season after setting a sensational 1:01.741 – the quickest lap of the weekend. 

It marked his first pole since Berlin Season 8 (2022), on that weekend in the German capital, Mortara claimed pole for both races. 

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