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Forward facing shot of Stoffel Vandoorne in his gold and black DS Penske Formula E Car

Vandoorne takes maiden pole of 2023

Stoffel Vandoorne makes it nine different pole sitters in nine races after topping qualifying in Sao Paulo. 

The reigning champion beat Antonio Felix Da Costa in the final duel by just 0.06s, setting a lap time of 1m11.904s. 

Championship leaders Pascal Wehrlein and Jake Dennis could only make it to P18 and P14 respectively. 

Group stages 

Jean-Eric Vergne set the pace early in the first group before Brazilian driver Sergio Sette Camara came to a stop on track mid-way through the first qualifying session. The NIO driver had run over a significant bump on the track which reset his car. He was able to get going again, but not before the red flag was thrown. 

Times continued to drop in the second half of the session, with Vandoorne, Edoardo Mortara and Nick Cassidy all taking turns at the top of the times.  

Vandoorne ended the session quickest with a 1m12.761s, ahead of Cassidy, Moratara and Jake Hughes. Team-mate Vergne narrowly missed out on a spot in the top four, 0.248s off Hughes’ time. 

There were problems at the start of Group B for Robin Frijns, making his Formula E return after being away with an injured hand. The ABT car came to a stop on track just after pit exit. He was able to get going again but ended the session slowest of those to set a lap time. 

The only driver that didn’t set a lap time was home favourite Lucas Di Grassi. The Mahindra driver hit the wall at the inside of Turn 8, significantly damaging his car and causing Sam Bird behind to abort his lap. 

Bird would come back in the second half of the session, topping the time with a 1m12.833s before lowering his fastest lap to 1m12.669s. 

Maximillian Guenther took second quickest, ahead of Antonio Felix Da Costa and Mitch Evans. 

For the first time this season, Sebastien Buemi missed out on a spot in the duels, as he finished sixth in group, behind Norman Nato. 

Neither Wehrlein nor Dennis had any particular issues in the group stages, but didn’t quite have the pace to break it into the top four in their respective groups. 


Vandoorne went head-to-head with Jake Hughes in the quarter-finals. The McLaren driver was unbeaten in the quarter-finals so far this season, but a mistake on his lap dropped him roughly six-tenths off the pace. Vandoorne became the first driver to go sub 1m12s as he went through to the semi-finals. 

The head-to-head with Edoardo Mortara was closer, with the pair separated by 0.09s as Vandoorne secured his first front-row start of 2023. 

Meanwhile, Da Costa had started his journey to the finals with a head-to-head against Guenther, narrowly beating the Maserati driver. He then faced Mitch Evans in the semis, beating the Jaguar by 0.04s. 

Da Costa and Vandoorne were evenly matched throughout their final runs, but Vandoorne just had the edge late in the lap to go 0.063s ahead of Da Costa. 

Mitch Evans starts the race third, ahead of Mortara. Sam Bird was the quickest of those who didn’t make it out of the duels, but will take a five place grid penalty for colliding with team-mate Evans in Hyderabad. He starts P10. 

Nick Cassidy is promoted to fifth ahead of Hughes. Guenther will also take a grid penalty this race, dropping back to ninth behind Sette Camara and Nato.

Bethonie Waring

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