Guanyu Zhou got the best possible start to his second season in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with pole position at the Red Bull Ring and four championship points.
The Chinese driver was nearly half a second clear of debutant Felipe Drugovich, who was an unexpected second for MP Motorsport.
Callum Ilott made it two UNI-Virtuosi cars in the top three, despite running wide on his last run on the exit of Turn 4, which had also claimed the Trident of Marino Sato five minutes from the end of the session, causing a red-flag stoppage.
Christian Lundgaard was able to pull out a great lap to put his ART in fourth place before the team’s former driver Nikita Mazepin spun out and stopped on the exit of Turn 6, just as the chequered flag fell, preventing a raft of drivers from improving their lap times.
Mick Schumacher will line up fifth for PREMA Racing, ahead of Jehan Daruvala, Luca Ghiotto, Robert Shwartzman and Dan Ticktum.
Louis Deletraz rounded out the top 10 for Charouz, seven-tenths adrift.
The start of the F2 Feature Race begins on Saturday at 15:45 BST.