Honda-backed Nobuharu Matsushita takes F2 pole in Azerbaijan

Honda-backed Nobuharu Matsushita claimed pole position during a delayed Formula 2 qualifying session at the Baku City Circuit.

Carlin racer Matsushita was fastest in the first two sectors of the six-kilometre street track and profited from a double slipstream to post a time of 1:54.555.

That left him 0.444s clear of ART Grand Prix’s Nyck de Vries, with championship leader Luca Ghiotto third for UNI-Virtuosi.

The fastest times all came during the closing stages of a session which was delayed due to circuit checks in the wake of the loose drain that caused Formula 1’s opening practice to be abandoned.

It was subsequently interrupted when Sean Gelael’s Prema-run car stopped on the exit of Turn 7 due to a loss of power.

Gelael was able to re-start his car but in the process struck a couple of marshals who had been pushing the previously power-less machine.

The marshals did not appear to sustain any injuries in the incident.

Fourth-placed Sergio Sette Camara was over a second adrift of polesitter Matsushita while MP Motorsport’s Jordan King and Prema’s Mick Schumacher followed.

Bahrain Feature Race winner Nicholas Latifi had to make do with seventh, in front of Campos’ Jack Aitken and reigning GP3 champion Anthoine Hubert.

Hubert came perilously close to crashing out of the session when he slithered wide through Turn 18 but he avoided the wall and was able to complete the lap.

Ralph Boschung rounded out the top 10 for Trident.