Hughes and McLaren take pole in Shanghai by just 0.001s

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Hughes and McLaren take pole in Shanghai by just 0.001s

NEOM McLaren’s Jake Hughes achieved his second Julius Baer Pole Position of the season around the Shanghai International Circuit.


In the intense qualifying battle, NEOM McLaren’s Jake Hughes managed to beat DS PENSKE’s Stoffel Vandoorne by just 0.001s! The insane margin between the two in the Final of the Duels ties the record set by Lucas di Grassi in Berlin in 2017. It’s the second time we’ve seen a pole decided by such a small gap this season, with Pascal Wehrlein of TAG Heuer Porsche putting it on pole by just 0.002s in São Paulo. 

Several of the big favourites were knocked out early on including Reigning World Champion Jake Dennis who will start 16th. Yesterday’s pole sitter Jean-Eric Vergne couldn’t replicate his successes for a second consecutive day and will line up ninth. Meanwhile, championship leader Nick Cassidy (Jaguar TCS Racing) is in fifth. 

Mahindra Racing’s Nyck de Vries managed his best qualifying performance of the year to start fourth after making his first Duels appearance of the year, fresh from his maiden points of the season in yesterday’s inaugural Shanghai E-Prix.

As it happened…


Jake Hughes took on Stoffel Vandoorne in the Final Duel. The DS PENSKE team were hunting back-to-back poles this weekend, one for each of their drivers as Jean-Eric Vergne was on pole yesterday. But, it wasn’t to be as Jake Hughes got his second pole of the season to put himself in that all important grid slot for the race later. 


Semi Finals 

Former teammates Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne went head-to-head first. The fight between the 2021 and 2022 Formula E champions was always going to be good, but it was Vandoorne who earned himself a guaranteed front row start for the race. It’s still De Vries’ best starting grid position of the year as he will line up in fourth. 

SF1 S10 r12

Jake Hughes has looked rapid here all weekend in qualifying, and continued that pace when he beat the TAG Heuer Porsche of Antonio Felix da Costa. Hughes was on pole in Misano for Round 7, a track that holds many similarities to the Shanghai International Circuit. 

Quarter Finals 

First to take the stage was Vandoorne and Nick Cassidy. The Belgian DS PENSKE driver is in the Duels for a sixth consecutive race, but is yet to be on pole this year. Despite his best efforts, Cassidy failed to make it through to the next set of Duels. 

Then was Oliver Rowland versus Nyck de Vries. Although Rowland in his Nissan was the clear favourite, it was Season 7 World Champion de Vries who progressed. Rowland has the highest Duel win percentage of any driver (68.8%) and started from the front row yesterday. For Nyck, this is his first time in the Duels since London 2022. 

CIRCUIT: What does the Shanghai E-Prix circuit look like?

Round 11 race winner Mitch Evans took on Antonio Felix da Costa in the next Quarter Final. Da Costa is on a roll this weekend in Shanghai and has reached the Duel stages more times this weekend than in the rest of the year combined! Despite not winning a Duel so far this season, the Porsche driver finished ahead of Evans. 

The final battle was Jake Hughes and Norman Nato. Hughes had not won a single Duel this season anywhere other than at Misano, but managed to change that statistic when he beat Nato around this unique circuit. However, it is still a great performance from Nato who made it through to the Duels for a third consecutive race. 

Group A

The top four was covered by just 0.025s, as Oliver Rowland topped his qualifying group for Round 12. Joining the Yorkshireman in progressing through to the Duels was Stoffel Vandoorne, and yesterday’s podium finisher Nick Cassidy. The Jaguar driver let it last minute to set his best flying lap, but it paid off as he slotted himself into third. Joining the trio was Nyck de Vries, who is fresh off the back of points – his first this season. 


Both Envision Racing drivers were bottom of the pack, with Robin Frijns in 10th and Sebastien Buemi in 11th. Reigning World Champion Jake Dennis continued his qualifying woes and was forced to settle for eighth. 

Group B

Jake Hughes was top of his group, and was joined by Antonio Felix da Costa, Mitch Evans and Norman Nato in getting through to the Duels. 

Several big names were knocked out in this group, including yesterday’s pole sitter Jean-Eric Vergne in his DS PENSKE and championship hopeful Pascal Wehrlein. The Porsche driver managed to finish in second place after leading a large chunk of the race, but will be having a very different kind of racing experience today now starting in 13th.