Buemi and Vandoorne in top 5 for Ad Diriyah ePrix


No ex-Formula 1 drivers on the front row, but Sebastian Buemi and Stoffel Vandoorne starting the season opener in the top five.

There is a strong Formula 1 contingent in the Formula E series this year, with eight of the 22 drivers having raced in F1.

Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne are the big names who have moved across to join the all-electric series.

They join the four previous Champions, in Nelson Piquet Jr., Sebastian Buemi, Lucas di Grassi and Jean-Eric Vergne, along with Andre Lotterer and Jerome d’Ambrosio.

The season did not start well, with both practice sessions for the Ad Diriyah ePrix cancelled to due heavy thunderstorms in the region.

An additional practice session took place before qualifying, with Vandoorne leading the way. Sam Bird, Buemi, Oliver Rowland and Mitch Evans were in the top five in practice.

None of those would make the top three on the grid, though, as Antonio Felix da Costa took pole in a revised qualifying session, picking up the first three points of the 2018/19 season.

Tom Dillmann was second fastest, but may be penalised for completed more than the permitted amount of laps during the qualifying session. Jose Maria Lopez, who features in WEC, will start from P3, but could profit if Dillmann is penalised.

Then come Buemi and Vandoorne, with Sam Bird ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne. Jerome d’Ambrosio and Andre Lotterer start in the top ten.

It was not a good debut qualifying session in FE for Felipe Massa, who starts down in P19 for the race in Saudi Arabia.


Full qualifying results for the Ad Diriyah ePrix

(Former F1 drivers in bold)

  1. Antonio Felix da Costa – BMW i Andretti – 1:17.728
  2. Tom Dillmann – NIO FE – 0.165s
  3. Jose Maria Lopez – GEOX Dragon – 0.385s
  4. Sebastian Buemi – Nissan e.dams – 0.541s
  5. Stoffel Vandoorne – HWA Racelab – 0.762s
  6. Sam Bird – Virgin Racing – 0.783s
  7. Jean-Eric Vergne – Techeetah – 0.843s
  8. Robin Frijns – Virgin Racing – 1.308s
  9. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Mahindra – 1.349s
  10. Andre Lotterer – Techeetah – 1.589s
  11. Lucas di Grassi – Audi Sport ABT – 1.799s
  12. Mitch Evans – Panasonic Jaguar – 1.984s
  13. Oliver Rowland – Nissan e.dams – 2.027s
  14. Oliver Turvey – NIO FE – 2.184s
  15. Gary Paffett – HWA Racelab – 2.201s
  16. Edoardo Mortara – Venturi – 2.602s
  17. Alexander Sims – BMW i Andretti – 2.639s
  18. Daniel Abt – Audi Sport ABT – 2.657s
  19. Felipe Massa – Venturi – 2.679s
  20. Nelson Piquet Jr. – Panasonic Jaguar – 3.761s
  21. Maximilian Gunther – GEOX Drago – 4.155s
  22. Felix Rosenqvist – Mahindra – 5.309s

The race starts at approximately 12pm UK time around the old streets of Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

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