Di Grassi gives Mahindra FE pole ahead of Andretti and McLaren - The Race
Formula E

Di Grassi gives Mahindra FE pole ahead of Andretti and McLaren

Jan 14 2023

Lucas di Grassi gave Mahindra a surprise pole for the first race of Formula E’s Gen3 era at Mexico City.

The team had not looked a likely frontrunner going into the season-opener, but strong runs through the early stages of qualifying got di Grassi into contention and then errors by the Andretti drivers in the crucial duels handed di Grassi pole.

Andretti Porsche team-mates Jake Dennis and Andre Lotterer had been quickest in their respective qualifying groups. Lotterer then beat highly impressive Nissan rookie Sacha Fenestraz in his quarter-final and Dennis dismissed the works Porsche of Pascal Wehrlein despite smacking a bollard in the stadium section and smashing off a significant part of his front wing.

Dennis wasn’t allowed to change it so carried the damage through a close semi-final against Jake Hughes – flying on McLaren’s Formula E debut – in which Hughes’ slides through the final corner made the difference in Dennis’s favour.

It was Lotterer’s turn to make an error in his semi, braking too late into the Turn 5 hairpin and losing enough time to give di Grassi an easy run to the final. Di Grassi had earlier defeated old nemesis Sebastien Buemi’s Envision Jaguar in their quarter-final.

Dennis was still the favourite going into the final given Andretti’s pace all day, but a pair of lock-ups in the first few corners gave di Grassi a comfortable margin.

Hughes starts a superb third for McLaren’s first FE race, 12 places ahead of team-mate Rene Rast and with Lotterer alongside him on row two.

Dan Ticktum starred with fifth for NIO 333, having reached the duels before losing out to Hughes in their quarter-final.

Last year’s Mexico winner Wehrlein starts sixth, with his Porsche team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa ninth behind Buemi and Fenestraz.

The combination of teams still unfamiliar with the new cars and in particular the optimum single-lap performance window for the new Hankook tyres, plus traffic issues, meant a host of surprise exits in the group stages.

The DS package used by DS Penske and Maserati MSG had looked the strongest after pre-season testing but all four cars running it fell at the first hurdle. DS team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne and reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne were 11th and 14th, the Maseratis of Edoardo Mortara and Maximilian Guenther only 16th and 17th.

Less surprising – given the team’s fraught practice – was that no works Jaguars made it to the duels. Mitch Evans got close and starts 10th but Sam Bird is on the back row along with polesitter di Grassi’s Mahindra team-mate Oliver Rowland.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Car Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
1 Lucas Di Grassi Mahindra Racing Mahindra M9Electro 1m13.461s 1m13.081s 1m13.012s 1m13.575s
2 Jake Dennis Avalanche Andretti Porsche 99X Electric 1m13.074s 1m13.002s 1m12.595s 1m16.516s
3 Jake Hughes NEOM McLaren Nissan e-4ORCE 04 1m13.302s 1m12.788s 1m12.721s
4 André Lotterer Avalanche Andretti Porsche 99X Electric 1m13.405s 1m13.176s 1m14.551s
5 Daniel Ticktum NIO 333 Racing NIO 333 ER9 1m13.287s 1m12.922s
6 Pascal Wehrlein TAG Heuer Porsche Porsche 99X Electric 1m13.359s 1m13.031s
7 Sébastien Buemi Envision Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 6 1m13.431s 1m13.1s
8 Sacha Fenestraz Nissan Nissan e-4ORCE 04 1m13.502s 1m13.22s
10 Mitch Evans Jaguar TCS Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 6 1m13.405s
11 Jean-Eric Vergne DS Penske DS E-Tense FE23 1m13.563s
12 Nick Cassidy Envision Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 6 1m13.415s
13 Sérgio Sette Câmara NIO 333 Racing NIO 333 ER9 1m13.613s
13 António Félix da Costa TAG Heuer Porsche Porsche 99X Electric 1m13.504s
14 Stoffel Vandoorne DS Penske DS E-Tense FE23 1m13.45s
15 René Rast NEOM McLaren Nissan e-4ORCE 04 1m13.635s
16 Edoardo Mortara Maserati MSG Racing Maserati Tipo Folgore 1m13.618s
17 Maximilian Günther Maserati MSG Racing Maserati Tipo Folgore 1m13.742s
18 Nico Müller ABT CUPRA Mahindra M9Electro 1m13.776s
19 Robin Frijns ABT CUPRA Mahindra M9Electro 1m14.125s
20 Norman Nato Nissan Nissan e-4ORCE 04 1m13.785s
21 Sam Bird Jaguar TCS Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 6 1m14.145s
22 Oliver Rowland Mahindra Racing Mahindra M9Electro 1m14.043s

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