Carlin’s Lando Norris has once again pulled off a brilliant qualifying performance to secure a front-row start ahead of tomorrow’s FIA Formula Two Feature Race in Baku. The Championship leader was a protagonist throughout the 30-minute session and will line up in second overall as he looks to extend his championship lead during the second round of the championship. Carlin team mate Sérgio Sette Câmara also enjoyed a strong session and will start in sixth despite finding himself caught in traffic throughout the session which hampered his efforts.
There was drama soon after the track went green for qualifying in Baku with a loss of power for Maximilian Gunther meaning the German driver was stranded on track; this, in turn, caused a red flag which brought all of the cars back in to the pit lane while he was recovered back to the pits. Shortly after, the cars were once again released to qualify, and it was immediately clear what the two Carlin drivers had their eyes set upon. Norris was soon fastest in provisional pole position with Sette Câmara just behind in second place after 10 minutes of the session.
After that, the pair backed off somewhat for their next lap before the first bit of bad luck struck for Sette Câmara who came across a slow-moving Santino Ferrucci which ruined his lap and left him out of position in ninth by the time he returned to the pit lane at the midpoint of the session; Norris meanwhile was third overall.
With just under nine minutes remaining the cars left the pit lane for their final runs on new tyres. However it wasn’t until five minutes remained that the fast laps really began. Norris soon lit up the timing screens to provisionally take pole position however came under pressure from those behind – in a tense battle Norris was just squeezed off the top spot by Alexander Albon who stole pole for himself as the Championship leader nevertheless took a fantastic front row start to line up in second for the Feature Race tomorrow.
Sette Câmara, who’d already had one lap ruined, improved in the final moments to clinch sixth as his own and will no doubt be aiming to replicate his incredible start last time out in Bahrain.
Norris said of the session, “It was quite a hectic session out there today with a few yellow flags and people slowing down. I only managed to get one lap in on the first run which was good enough for second at the time but the yellow flags kept coming out so it made sense to come in to the pits at that point. After that on the second run I went out and managed to get a decent position on track with no traffic and set a good lap. I definitely think I could have gone for pole but my first sector let me down a little bit. However we start from a pretty good position on the front row for the race tomorrow so I have to be happy with that.”
The Feature Race gets underway tomorrow (Saturday) at 12:00 local time.