Liam Lawson claimed his debut Formula 2 Championship pole position on the Baku Street Circuit last night.
The Kiwi teenager has already earned a race win in his outstanding rookie season, and only he had to wait till the third qualifying session of the year to clinch a pole position.
Lawson will start ahead of Hitech teammate Jüri Vips, while New Zealand compatriot Marcus Armstrong is a competitive sixth.
“I haven’t had a pole position in such a long time,” Lawson said.
“I had one last year in Formula 3, but it was because in front having penalties, so it doesn’t really count.
“To have it outright on track is pretty cool. Especially considering where we were this morning after Free Practice.
“Jüri did a mega lap, so I have him to thank for his data, and I had a lot to work, so I focused on all the main points we needed to work on. I think the whole qualifying session, we were strong, both cars always in the top five.
“So yeah, I’m really happy.”
Lawson’s best lap – a 1.44.217s – was over a tenth quicker than Vips, with most of his time found in the middle sector of the lap.
The Red Bull Junior was fearless through the narrow castle section and up through the twisty streets of Baku before the 1.1km long front straight.
“I think every lap you are getting more and more comfortable with the track, the cars are getting lighter, and the track is getting a bit better,” he said.
“The first lap on the second run was obviously quite good, but I knew there was a little bit of margin left so I basically just pushed a little bit harder, especially through the castle section.”
The qualifying session set the grid for this weekend’s feature race, the third of three races.
The first race of the weekend will be a reverse top ten of qualifying and the second is a reverse top ten of the earlier race’s finishing order.
It means Lawson will start tenth for race one, and Armstrong will start fifth. Pole position will be for Robert Shwartzman in the Prema.
Race one is scheduled to start at 6.25 pm NZT, June 6.