Sam Bird produced a fearless final lap in Paris qualifying to pick up pole. That’s his third of the season, more than any other driver.
Bird led the way in the group qualifying stages before once again shooting to P1 with his last lap in the Super Pole shootout, beating championship leader Lucas di Grassi by three-tenths of a second in the final timesheets. With championship rival Sebastien Buemi managing only P8, the Brazilian has a golden opportunity to extend his points lead in the French capital.
Jean-Eric Vergne flew the Tricolour for France en route to third place on the grid (literally, with the flag adorning the powertrain fairing as the Union Jack did Bird’s in London last year) and finishing just six-hundredths of a second shy of di Grassi.
Stephane Sarrazin bounced back from a crash in practice to qualify fourth, while Nico Prost led Renault e.dams’ charge by finishing fifth, albeit a second behind Bird at the front.
Robin Frijns narrowly missed out on a Super Pole berth thanks to Bird’s late lap in group qualifying, leaving him sixth on the grid. NextEV TCR enjoyed its best qualifying of the season so far with Oliver Turvey finishing seventh and Nelson Piquet ending the session ninth. Buemi reported tyre temperature issues, leaving him in P8. A Renault beween two NextEVs is not what anyone expected to see, particularly at Renault’s home race.
Antonio Felix da Costa secured P10 for Team Aguri ahead of Jerome d’Ambrosio and Simona de Silvestro, while Bruno Senna and Daniel Abt also struggled for pace and will start P13 and P14. Ma Qinghua will start his first Formula E race from P15 despite nearly crashing twice on his fastest lap, while Loic Duval was left languishing in P16.
There was early drama in Q1 as Nick Heidfeld and Mike Conway tangled at T11, causing a red flag. Heidfeld had lost the rear of his car and spun, hitting the wall. He then pulled back onto the circuit without looking, directly into the path of Conway. Both had to scamper back to the pits for repairs, leaving their teams with a tough repair job to do ahead of the race. Heidfeld was quick to apologise to Conway, but his mistake left both with an Eiffel Tower to climb in the race towards points.
Super Pole qualifying times
Group qualifying times