Di Grassi to start from pole in Berlin

Abt Audi Sport's Lucas di Grassi will start from pole position for the first race of this weekend's Berlin double header.

Di Grassi finished just 0.001s quicker than his nearest rival in a nailbiting superpole session, while championship leader Sebastien Buemi could only manage 14th.

Brazilian Di Grassi shrugged off an ankle injury, running first in the superpole to set a time of 1m08.312s.

Jose Maria Lopez then lapped just one-thousandth of a second slower to finish in second place, agonisingly close to pole.

Earlier, Mahindra's Felix Rosenqvist was fastest in the group phase of qualifying and looked on course to repeat the feat in superpole after posting leading times in both the first and second sectors.

It only takes the slightest error to derail a lap, however, and Rosenqvist would lose momentum after clipping the kerb at the Turn 9 hairpin, before another error through Turn 10 saw him finish third fastest, just under a tenth slower than Di Grassi.

Rosenqvist's team-mate Nick Heidfeld was another driver who shone in practice only to slip up in qualifying. He finished fourth, well ahead of Sam Bird.

It was not a good session for Buemi, however, who was consigned to the seventh row after missing out on superpole. The Swiss ace was quickest in FP1 but could only manage ninth in FP2 before his qualifying struggles left him well down on pace.

“It’s really bad,” said Buemi. “I had a lot of oversteer and struggled to put a lap together.

“It’s going to be a tough one. The speed is not there.”

Qualifying times

1 Lucas di Grassi ABT Schaeffler Audi 1:08.312
2 Jose Maria Lopez DS Virgin Racing 1:08.313 0.001
3 Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Racing 1:08.395 0.083
4 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing 1:08.650 0.338
5 Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing 1:09.724 1.412
6 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah 1:08.457 0.145
7 Oliver Turvey NextEV Nio 1:08.607 0.295
8 Daniel Abt ABT Schaeffler Audi 1:08.620 0.308
9 Nicolas Prost Renault e.Dams 1:08.692 0.380
10 Jerome D'Ambrosio Faraday Future Dragon Racing 1:08.825 0.513
11 Maro Engel Venturi 1:08.846 0.534
12 Stephane Sarrazin Techeetah 1:08.890 0.578
13 Nelson Piquet NextEV Nio 1:08.961 0.649
14 Sebastien Buemi Renault e.Dams 1:09.010 0.698
15 Tom Dillmann Venturi 1:09.214 0.902
16 Mitch Evans Jaguar Racing 1:09.219 0.907
17 Robin Frijns Andretti 1:09.630 1.318
18 Adam Carroll Jaguar Racing 1:09.898 1.586
19 Loic Duval Faraday Future Dragon Racing 1:09.923 1.611
20  Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti 1:11.147 2.835