Hughes gives McLaren Shanghai E-Prix pole by record slim margin

Not content with a front row start at the Monaco Grand Prix with Oscar Piastri or a top-five starts at the Indianapolis 500 with Alexander Rossi and Kyle Larson later today, McLaren began its busiest Sunday of the year claiming pole position for the second race of the Shanghai E-Prix.

And Jake Hughes did it in style, beating DS Penske’s Stoffel Vandoorne by 0.001s, making it the closest pole margin in Formula E history.

Vandoorne began his lap strongly, going quicker in the first sector, but Hughes began to reel him in in the second. At the end of the lap, a mystified Hughes exclaimed over the radio “Did we get it? That felt awful!” But it was enough to grab pole for the second time this season.


Ahead of the head-to-head Duels final, Hughes topped the second group in the opening part of qualifying, then beat Andretti’s Norman Nato and TAG Heuer Porsche’s Antonio Felix da Costa.

Vandoorne, second to Nissan’s Oliver Rowland in Group A, defeated Nick Cassidy in his quarterfinal — Cassidy, like Hughes on Saturday, setting the second-quickest time in the quarterfinals but being beaten in the head-to-head — and Mahindra’s Nyck de Vries in the semis. after de Vries had defeated Rowland in his first head-to-head.

Behind the front row of Hughes and Vandoorne, da Costa will line up third on the gird alongside de Vries in his best starting spot of the season so far. The third row of the grid is a Jaguar TCS Racing lockout with Cassidy in fifth and Saturday winner Mitch Evans – beaten by da Costa in the Duels quarterfinals – sixth.

Andretti’s Norman Nato and Rowland will occupy seventh and eighth on the grid, with Saturday polesitter Jean-Eric Vergne – eliminated in the first part of qualifying after going fifth fastest in Group B – and Maserati MSG’s Maximilian Guenther rounding out the top-10.

Sam Bird will start 11th in the second NEOM McLaren, ahead of Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz, and two more big names who fell in the group stage, Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein, and Andretti driver Jake Dennis.

Sergio Sette Camara will be the highest-placed ERT driver on the grid in 15th, ahead of Jehan Daruvala (Maserati), Nico Mueller (Abt Cupra), and teammate Dan Ticktum.

Lucas di Grassi (Abt Cupra), Robin Frijns (Envision Racing), Edoardo Mortara (Mahindra), and Sebastien Buemi (Envision) complete the field.


Story originally appeared on Racer