Buemi scored his second pole of the 2018/19 season at the scene of his most recent FE win, which came at the Tempelhof track back in ’17, by 0.398s.
The Swiss driver set the best time in the first and third sectors on his flying lap in superpole, recovering from an average middle segment by flying from the final corner – the long Turn 10 hairpin – to set a best time of 1m07.295s.
Vandoorne, who topped the group qualifying part of the session for HWA, nearly matched Buemi in sector one despite a slide at the long near-circular Turn 1.
He remained in contention for pole until the final corner, where carrying too much speed on entry and then a big kick from the rear as he accelerated out of the turn cost him against Buemi.
He also had a big slide at Turn 1 but recovered through the lap and ended up ahead of Gary Paffett (HWA), Jaguar’s Alex Lynn and BMW Andretti driver Alexander Sims, who will drop five places on the grid due to his penalty for clashing with di Grassi in Monaco.
Daniel Abt was knocked out of superpole contention at the last moment by Paffett’s late group effort, but is under investigation for a suspected breach of article 33.2 of FE’s sporting regulations, which states that teams must not work on their cars beyond “temperature management” from five minutes before the start of qualifying.
Antonio Felix da Costa qualified eighth as the second highest group one runner, while championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne ended up ninth.
Jerome d’Ambrosio rounded out the top 10 ahead of his Mahindra Racing teammate Pascal Wehrlein.
Group two runners Oliver Rowland and Sam Bird took 12th and 13th, while Edoardo Mortara could not replicate his high practice placings – he finished second in both FP1 and FP2 – as he finished down in 16th for Venturi.
Mortara’s teammate Felipe Massa clipped the walls twice at Turn 6 – where attack mode is located for the race – and the following fast left of Turn 7 on his way to 19th from group three.
Robin Frijns and Andre Lotterer took the final two positions, with the former suspecting that an as-yet undiagnosed car problem on his group one lap cost him time.
Lotterer, second in the standings by just one point, did not get to set a time in group one as he missed the cut by a split second at the end of his second warm up lap when following di Grassi and Vergne.
Lotterer will start ahead of Frijns as the Envision Virgin Racing driver also has a five-place grid penalty carried over from Monaco.