Jolyon Palmer put in an impressive performance to take pole position in Portimão, marking the fourth time he will lead the field away this year.

Benjamin Bailly was sitting comfortably at the top of the time sheet as the clocks counted down and had looked set to take his second consecutive pole position, this was until Palmer put in a stunning lap to deny the Belgian top spot.

Nico De Marco led the opening part of qualifying after setting his times on used tyres, but with 15 minutes of the session left the times began to fall. Russian Ivan Samarin would be the first driver to head out on fresh rubber setting a provisional pole time of 1:38.296s.

Bailly responded immediately as he shot to the top of the timesheets. Jack Clarke would follow Bailly across the line, narrowly missing out by 0.018s. Nicola De Marco, Kazim Vasiliauskas and Philipp Eng would settle in behind the lead times, covered by less than one tenth of a second.

With five minutes remaining Palmer was left languishing down in twelth place after their first flying laps on fresh tyres fell short. Palmer wouldn’t let it rest though as he put in three quick laps in succession taking pole position by 0.215s.

“I knew once I got a lap in I’d be at the sharp end, but whereabouts I wasn’t sure,” said Palmer. “Obviously I was happy to come over the line and see 35.7 on the dash. I’ve just got to push for the win and hopefully score good points for the championship.”

Bailly and Clarke would be left to settle for second and third ahead of De Marco, Vasiliauskas and Eng. Will Bratt would finish the session in seventh while Samarin slotted in at eighth place.