Written by Vyas Ponnuri
Pascal Wehrlein grabbed yet another pole position, his third around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, setting a red hot 1:13.298, as he grabbed pole position from Envision Racing's Sebastian Buemi, in a qualifying session of shocks and surprises for reigning champion Jake Dennis and Avalanche Andretti.
AS IT UNFOLDED
Having tested their cars at Valencia in October, and understood the working of their car around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, drivers could then push their car around in anger, as qualifying beckoned for the Mexico City E Prix.
An early benchmark was laid down by NEOM McLaren's Sam Bird, before Pascal Wehrlein usurped the time, going just over three hundredths quicker, at the end of the first runs.
As the clock ticked down to zero, drivers jockeyed for track position, the likes of Sacha Fenestraz and Pascal Wehrlein side by side at the Foro Sol stadium, while Nick Cassidy came across a slow-moving Penske of Stoffel Vandoorne at the entry to the Peraltada corner.
As the track evolved, Vandoorne himself went on to set the quickest time, before his benchmark was beaten by Robin Frijns in the Envision Racing car.
The duo remained in the top two, while Sacha Fenestraz put Nissan in the duels - albeit briefly, before Wehrlein and Cassidy came charging through and made it to the duels, knocking Fenestraz and Sam Bird off the duels, while Norman Nato just missed out in his Andretti, finishing fifth in Group A.
The top four were separated by a mere 0.07 seconds on the track, once again highlighting the close nature of the Formula E grid.
Advanced to duels - Frijns, Vandoorne, Wehrlein, Cassidy
Another close qualifying session rounded out the group stages of Formula E qualifying. The top four were separated by only 0.082 seconds at the end of 12 minutes of qualifying.
After the first round of rubber laid down by the drivers, it was Nato's teammate Jake Dennis atop the timing sheets, from Jaguar's Mitch Evans in second.
However, this picture would change dramatically come the crunch time. Maserati's ever popular Max Gunther set a new benchmark time, usurping Dennis's time on the leaderboard, before Jake Hughes solidifed a place in the duels, going second on the leaderboard.
Sebastian Buemi made it two green Envisions heading to the duels, making it through, while Mitch Evans ensured all four Jaguar-powered cars made it into the duels, with a late effort to finish in the top four, and make it into the duels.
Elsewhere, reigning champion Jake Dennis was knocked out in seventh place in group B, after a lock up at the right hand hairpin. A shocker for Andretti across the board, with both cars failing to make the duels for the Mexico City E Prix.
Advanced to duels - Max Gunther, Jake Hughes, Sebastian Buemi, Mitch Evans
As always, Formula E's duels qualifying proved to be entertaining, with one lap deciding who progressed to the semi finals, and remained in the race for pole position.
The first duel between Cassidy and Vandoorne proved telling, both drivers pushing to the extremities of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to stake their claim on a semi finals spot.
The rustiness was visible, with both drivers making mistakes around the lap, Cassidy going deep into the hairpin, and having a moment around the Foro Sol, but Vandoorne's mistake proved telling, costing him nearly half a second, and allowing Cassidy through to the semi finals by 0.2 seconds in the end.
The second duel between Frijns and Wehrlein was decided right by the first timing line, a costly mistake by the Envision Racer into turn one costing him a second, and he eventually wound up over two seconds behind, with the Porsche of Wehrlein making it to the semi finals.
The Envision Racing drivers experienced trouble of sorts during turn one, as Buemi too went deep into the fast right hander, but managed to keep going, only losing a tenth to Jake Hughes' McLaren. However, the Swiss veteran channelled his years of experience, ekeing out time in the middle sector, and even though Hughes was ahead into the Peraltada corner, a slight moment of oversteer cost him a semi final spot.
The final spot for the semi finals was a much more comfortable affair, with Mitch Evans easing his way past a determined Max Gunther to join his team mate Cassidy in the semi finals. His lap, a 1:13.103 was the quickest of the weekend so far.
Advanced to semi finals - Nick Cassidy, Pascal Wehrlein, Sebastian Buemi, Mitch Evans
Three Jaguar-powered cars entered the semi finals with a chance to make it to the final shootout for pole position. Two of these cars were the works Jaguars of Evans and Cassidy.
The first semi final between Cassidy and the only non-Jaguar powered car in the semi finals, Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein. In what was easily the closest duel across the whole session, the gap ebbed and flowed initially, before Wehrlein stretched out the gap to over a tenth of a second, ending the duel over a tenth and a half ahead of Nick Cassidy.
It was certain he would be battling a Jaguar-powered car in the final, as Evans and Buemi duelled it out for a spot in the coveted final, and a shot at pole position, and three vital championship points.
Once again, the gap remained narrow going into the second sector, hovering around seven tenths, but Evans lap came undone as it unfolded, with the Kiwi driver winding up well over three tenths behind Buemi, as he approached the line.
Both Jaguars had been eliminated from the semi finals, and will drop one spot each on the final grid for a pit lane infringement during free practice.
Advanced to final - Pascal Wehrlein, Sebastian Buemi
This was it. A position at the head of the grid for the Mexico City E Prix, a clear view ahead, and most importantly, three vital points on the line. Who would grab the pole position and kick off their season on a high?
And Wehrlein once again stretched his legs around the track, looking ever-comfortable on his way to yet another pole position, his third around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Clean into turn one, the German stretched his legs in the middle sector, gaining over three tenths on Buemi's Envision.
The Swiss driver managed to close down by a tenth in the final sector, but it was not enough to deny the Porsche driver another Mexico pole, and three points to kick off his season.
Pole Position - Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) - 1:13.298
Catch the 2024 Mexico City E Prix later today, with lights out at 2pm local time (8 pm GMT), as Wehrlein eyes a dream start to the Formula E season, and kick off a strong championship charge, like he did in season nine.