Baku GP2: Norman Nato fastest in first session on Azerbaijan track

Championship leader Norman Nato was fastest as the GP2 field christened the Baku street city with their practice session on Friday morning

Baku GP2: Norman Nato fastest in first session on Azerbaijan track

The Azerbaijan track was unsurprisingly dirty at first, with times improving by 11 seconds through the 45 minutes as the Formula 1 feeder series cars cleared the dust from the circuit.

Nato ultimately set the pace for Racing Engineering with a 1m55.394s, three and a half tenths ahead of rookie Antonio Giovinazzi.

Sergey Sirotkin, Pierre Gasly and Oliver Rowland completed the top five.

The session was repeatedly interrupted by yellows and virtual safety car periods.

Despite the focus on Baku's narrow sections, it was the downhill right-handers at Turns 15 and 16 that caused the majority of the trouble.

Several drivers went down the tight escape road at Turn 15, beginning with Jordan King - who had to dodge a van parked in there as he did so.

The vehicle was moved during a subsequent VSC, which was just as well given the number of other drivers who explored the runoff there later in the session.

Raffaele Marciello and Philo Paz Armand's session both ended when they were unable to get back on track after sliding off at Turn 15, while Nobuharu Matsushita provided some variety by parking at Turn 3.

PRACTICE TIMES

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Norman Nato Racing Engineering 1m55.394s - 16
2 Antonio Giovinazzi Prema Racing 1m55.719s 0.325s 15
3 Sergey Sirotkin ART Grand Prix 1m56.093s 0.699s 16
4 Pierre Gasly Prema Racing 1m56.464s 1.070s 17
5 Oliver Rowland MP Motorsport 1m56.871s 1.477s 17
6 Luca Ghiotto Trident 1m57.059s 1.665s 16
7 Jordan King Racing Engineering 1m57.091s 1.697s 15
8 Arthur Pic Rapax 1m57.438s 2.044s 16
9 Raffaele Marciello RUSSIAN TIME 1m57.464s 2.070s 8
10 Sergio Canamasas Carlin 1m57.538s 2.144s 14
11 Marvin Kirchhofer Carlin 1m57.585s 2.191s 14
12 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m57.587s 2.193s 15
13 Mitch Evans Pertamina Campos Racing 1m57.799s 2.405s 17
14 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1m58.397s 3.003s 17
15 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1m58.432s 3.038s 13
16 Gustav Malja Rapax 1m58.808s 3.414s 16
17 Alex Lynn DAMS 1m59.723s 4.329s 16
18 Philo Paz Armand Trident 1m59.757s 4.363s 11
19 Jimmy Eriksson Arden International 2m00.493s 5.099s 17
20 Nabil Jeffri Arden International 2m00.561s 5.167s 17
21 Sean Gelael Pertamina Campos Racing 2m00.769s 5.375s 14
22 Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 2m01.794s 6.400s 15


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