Buenos Aires ePrix: Bird grabs maiden pole, Buemi spins

Sam Bird took his first Formula E pole position in qualifying for the Buenos Aires ePrix, as championship leader Sebastien Buemi consigned himself to last on the grid with a spin.

Having led the way in opening practice, DS Virgin driver Bird was second fastest in the opening qualifying group, three tenths behind pacesetter Stephane Sarrazin.

But the Brit turned up the pace in the five-car superpole session, recording a 1m09.420s to put himself three tenths of a second clear of nearest rival Nicolas Prost.

"The aim was a podium, and now that is certainly a reality," said Bird. "We’ll look at the data from practice and work on things for the race, Nico [Prost] is close and their car is not too bad, as we have seen."

Prost just held off a charging Antonio Felix da Costa for second place by a hundredth of a second, with the Portuguese driver booking his superpole slot with a superb lap in the fourth and final group.

Venturi driver Sarrazin couldn't replicate his earlier pace in the shootout, however, and will start fourth, ahead of teammate and Formula E debutant Mike Conway.

Disaster for Buemi

After topping second practice, points leader Buemi relegated himself to the back of the grid with a spin during his hot lap in the second group.

The Swiss driver locked the rear brakes of his Renault e.dams machine approaching the Turn 5 hairpin – and will be forced to start the race from 18th and last as a result.

“I won’t find excuses, I just made a mistake,” Buemi said. “Last year I was on pole; this year I am at the back, so we will see what we can do.”

“Realistically there is no way to win, but hopefully I can get some good points for the championship.”

Lucas di Grassi, meanwhile, failed to capitalise fully on title rival Buemi’s woes, missing out on superpole with a scrappy lap in the final group.

The Brazilian starts seventh, behind Robin Frijns but ahead of Abt Audi Sport teammate Daniel Abt, Nelson Piquet Jr and Jerome d’Ambrosio.

There was further drama in the third qualifying group, as both Bruno Senna and Salvador Duran hit trouble on their flying laps.

Senna took too much kerb at the final chicane, bouncing into the outside wall, while Duran smashed into the barriers with a lock-up at Turn 4, destroying his front-right suspension.

The pair will start 16th and 17th respectively, just ahead of Buemi, while Jean-Eric Vergne starts 15th having just been declared fit to compete.

Qualifying results:

PosDriverTeamTime
1 United KingdomSam Bird  United KingdomVirgin Racing 1:09.420
2 FranceNicolas Prost  FranceDAMS 1:09.751
3 PortugalAntonio Felix da Costa  JapanTeam Aguri 1:09.761
4 FranceStéphane Sarrazin  MonacoVenturi 1:10.298
5 United KingdomMike Conway  MonacoVenturi 1:12.391
6 NetherlandsRobin Frijns  United StatesAndretti Autosport 1:09.616
7 BrazilLucas di Grassi  GermanyAudi Sport Team Abt 1:09.677
8 GermanyDaniel Abt  GermanyAudi Sport Team Abt 1:09.814
9 BrazilNelson Piquet Jr.  ChinaChina Racing 1:09.931
10 BelgiumJérôme d'Ambrosio  United StatesDragon Racing 1:10.067
11 United KingdomOliver Turvey  ChinaChina Racing 1:10.126
12 FranceLoic Duval  United StatesDragon Racing 1:10.130
13 GermanyNick Heidfeld  IndiaMahindra Racing 1:10.321
14 SwitzerlandSimona de Silvestro  United StatesAndretti Autosport 1:10.446
15 FranceJean-Eric Vergne  United KingdomVirgin Racing 1:10.581
16 BrazilBruno Senna  IndiaMahindra Racing 1:11.306
17 MexicoSalvador Duran  JapanTeam Aguri 1:13.256
18 SwitzerlandSébastien Buemi  FranceDAMS 1:19.421

 

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About this article
Series Formula E
Event Buenos Aires ePrix
Track Puerto Madero Street Circuit
Drivers Sam Bird , Sébastien Buemi
Teams Virgin Racing
Article type Qualifying report