Baku GP2: Giovinazzi gets first pole in postponed qualifying

Antonio Giovinazzi took a maiden GP2 pole position in a delayed qualifying session on the championship's first visit to the streets of Baku.

Baku GP2: Giovinazzi gets first pole in postponed qualifying
Antonio Giovinazzi, PREMA Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi, PREMA Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi, PREMA Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi, PREMA Racing
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix

The Italian secured new-for-2016 outfit Prema Racing's second pole in just three attempts, after Pierre Gasly took the top spot on the grid in the Barcelona season opener.

Originally set to be held before second Formula 1 practice, the session was postponed to the end of the day due to kerb issues at Turn 2.

Sergio Canamasas took the lead following the first representative laptimes, immediately beating the practice benchmark set by Norman Nato by almost two seconds.

However, the Spaniard made a small mistake on his following flyer, and failed to improve with first Gasly and then Giovinazzi both demoting him.

The running was then red-flagged after both Daniel De Jong and Philo Paz Armand ran off at Turn 3, and the latter failed to turn his car around to rejoin the track.

Despite going eight tenths quicker, Giovinazzi soon dropped down to second behind ART driver Nobuharu Matsushita once the session resumed.

The FIA F3 convert fought back to edge the Japanese out with just three minutes to go, the latter narrowly escaping contact with the wall and pitting before the end of the session.

The duo, separated by less than a tenth, remained unrivalled for the rest of the session to line up on the front row in Saturday's feature race.

ART's second driver Sergey Sirotkin was seven tenths down in third, followed by Italian duo Raffaele Marciello (Russian Time) and Luca Ghiotto (Trident).

Reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion Oliver Rowland (MP) and GP3 graduate Marvin Kirchhofer (Carlin) took sixth and seventh respectively, beating Gasly by 0.021s and 0.004s.

Racing Engineering's Nato and Canamasas (Carlin) completed the top 10.

Full times

Pos.DriverTeamGap
1  Antonio Giovinazzi Prema Racing 1:51.752
2  Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1:51.841
3  Sergey Sirotkin ART Grand Prix 1:52.532
4  Raffaele Marciello Russian Time 1:52.555
5  Luca Ghiotto Trident 1:52.691
6  Oliver Rowland MP Motorsport 1:52.739
7  Marvin Kirchhofer Carlin 1:52.756
8  Pierre Gasly Prema Racing 1:52.760
9  Norman Nato Racing Engineering 1:52.929
10  Sergio Canamasas Carlin 1:52.962
11  Jordan King Racing Engineering 1:52.962
12  Artem Markelov Russian Time 1:53.040
13  Alex Lynn DAMS 1:53.092
14  Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:53.226
15  Mitch Evans Campos 1:53.401
16  Arthur Pic Rapax 1:53.702
17  Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:54.000
18  Jimmy Eriksson Arden 1:54.034
19  Gustav Malja Rapax 1:54.213
20  Sean Gelael Campos 1:54.717
21  Nabil Jeffri Arden 1:55.333
22  Philo Paz Armand Trident 1:57.692

 

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