GP2 rookie Antonio Giovinazzi claimed a maiden series pole position on just his third appearance in the postponed Baku qualifying session.
The Prema driver, who previously displayed his street circuit prowess in Pau and Macau in Formula 3 last year, was the man to beat for most of the session, which had been moved to the end of the day due to the kerb issues earlier on.
Giovinazzi led the field after the first runs, which were cut short by a red flag after both Philo Paz Armand and Daniel de Jong went down the escape road at Turn 3 and the former was unable to get going again.
In the second runs, Sergey Sirotkin briefly took pole away from Giovinazzi, only for the Italian to respond with a lap that was six tenths of a second faster than the Russian.
Sirotkin’s ART Grand Prix team-mate Nobuharu Matsushita then took over top spot, but Giovinazzi was able to fight back with a lap of 1m51.752s, 0.089s quicker than the Japanese racer as most other drivers returned to the pits.
He may however face questions from the stewards after he appeared to impede Artem Markelov while on a cool-down lap prior to his pole-winning effort.
Sirotkin took third behind Matsushita, with Raffaele Marciello fourth.
Giovinazzi’s fellow Italian newcomer Luca Ghiotto also managed two flying laps on the second run to claim fifth, ahead of Oliver Rowland.
Marvin Kirchhofer was another quick rookie in seventh, forcing Pierre Gasly to settle for eighth, a second down on team-mate Giovinazzi.
But he will start one place higher than the championship leader Norman Nato, while Alex Lynn could only manage 13th place, behind Sergio Canamasas, Jordan King and Markelov.
|1||Antonio Giovinazzi||Prema Racing||1m51.752s||–|
|2||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||1m51.841s||0.089s|
|3||Sergey Sirotkin||ART Grand Prix||1m52.532s||0.780s|
|4||Raffaele Marciello||RUSSIAN TIME||1m52.555s||0.803s|
|6||Oliver Rowland||MP Motorsport||1m52.739s||0.987s|
|8||Pierre Gasly||Prema Racing||1m52.760s||1.008s|
|9||Norman Nato||Racing Engineering||1m52.929s||1.177s|
|11||Jordan King||Racing Engineering||1m52.962s||1.210s|
|12||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||1m53.040s||1.288s|
|15||Mitch Evans||Pertamina Campos Racing||1m53.401s||1.649s|
|17||Daniel de Jong||MP Motorsport||1m54.000s||2.248s|
|18||Jimmy Eriksson||Arden International||1m54.034s||2.282s|
|20||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Campos Racing||1m54.717s||2.965s|
|21||Nabil Jeffri||Arden International||1m55.333s||3.581s|
|22||Philo Paz Armand||Trident||1m57.692s||5.940s|