Baku F2: Ferrari protege Leclerc continues qualifying domination

Ferrari Formula 1 junior driver Charles Leclerc claimed his fourth successive Formula 2 pole position as he topped an interrupted qualifying session in Baku ahead of Nobuharu Matsushita

Baku F2: Ferrari protege Leclerc continues qualifying domination

Leclerc - who currently leads the championship standings - set a best time of 1m52.129s after the 30-minute session was held up by three red flag periods.

His closest title rival, DAMS racer and Renault F1 development driver Oliver Rowland, ended up in ninth place.

Matsushita headed Leclerc at the top of the times after the first runs on the streets of the Azerbaijan capital had been completed.

But the session was then disrupted by the first stoppage, which was a result of Russian Time driver Luca Ghiotto locking his left front wheel going into the Turn 15 left-hander and sliding into the barriers on the exit of the corner.

After his car was recovered and the debris was swept away by the marshals the field headed back out on to the circuit but were swiftly sent back to the pits when the session was stopped (for an unknown reason) for a second time.

Once race control was finally happy to let qualifying resume Antonio Fuoco and Rowland were just able to squeeze in improvements before the session was stopped for the third time after the Briton's DAMS team-mate Nicholas Latifi knocked the right front wing endplate off his car at the tight Turn 8 that leads up to the castle.

Once the session finally got back under way for good, Prema Racing driver Leclerc pushed Matsushita into second place by a massive 0.7s and improved again on his final lap.

Leclerc dedicates 'emotional' pole to late father

ART Grand Prix's Matsushita improved on his last effort but still wound up 0.5s behind Leclerc.

Latifi recovered from his earlier error to set the third fastest time ahead of practice pacesetter and McLaren F1 junior Nyck de Vries.

Artem Markelov finished fifth ahead of Fuoco, Johnny Cecotto, Sergio Canamasas and Rowland, who complained about "pretty glazed" brakes ahead of his final run.

Robert Visoiu rounded out the top 10 for Campos Racing.

Jordan King finished down in 15th place for MP Motorsport, while Sergey Sirotkin - who is filling in for the injured Alexander Albon at ART - qualified 17th on his return to the series.

Ghiotto had only set a warm-up lap time before his accident and will start the feature race from 20th place on the grid.

QUALIFYING RESULT:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Charles Leclerc Prema Racing 1m52.129s
2 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 0.568s
3 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 0.736s
4 Nyck de Vries Rapax 0.889s
5 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1.006s
6 Antonio Fuoco Prema Racing 1.091s
7 Johnny Cecotto Jr. Rapax 1.184s
8 Sergio Canamasas Trident 1.225s
9 Oliver Rowland DAMS 1.350s
10 Robert Visoiu Campos Racing 1.541s
11 Sergio Sette Camara MP Motorsport 1.724s
12 Norman Nato Pertamina Arden 1.771s
13 Sean Gelael Pertamina Arden 1.903s
14 Gustav Malja Racing Engineering 2.157s
15 Jordan King MP Motorsport 2.166s
16 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 2.210s
17 Sergey Sirotkin ART Grand Prix 2.255s
18 Louis Deletraz Racing Engineering 2.559s
19 Nabil Jeffri Trident 2.728s
- Luca Ghiotto RUSSIAN TIME 14.019s


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Charles Leclerc: Emotional Baku Formula 2 pole was for late father

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