Malaysia GP – Massa takes pole in Malaysia

Eurosport

Felipe Massa took pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix as Kimi Raikkonen completed an all-Ferrari front row. Lewis Hamilton will start in fourth on the grid.

FORMULA 1 2008 - Pole winner Felipe Massa of Ferrari during qualifying at the Malaysian GP in Sepang - 0

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Hamilton’s McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen joins him on the second row at a Sepang circuit where humidity crept over 80 percent as the hour wore on.

Brazilian Massa, who also started in pole in 2007, recorded a time of 1:35.748, nearly half-a-second ahead of Raikkonen (1:36.230) as threatened rain did not materialise until moments after the conclusion of the session.

Massa did not look comfortable in Q2, re-emerging – along with Hamilton – late on to set a precautionary final lap as he dropped down the timing list and using another set of valuable tyres.

However he improved immeasurably in the Q3 pole shoot-out, completing a stunning turnaround for the Scuderia after their Melbourne horror show .

Kovalainen and Hamilton followed close behind the Ferraris on the final straight as the seconds ticked away, but the Briton could not match the Finn’s 1:36.613 with his 1:36.709.

Hamilton did not look comfortable throughout the qualifying hour, consistently outside the top times in each section and forced into that desperate – and ultimately unnecessary – last lap on Q2.

The Championship leader locked up at one point early on and could not find the grip he required to set a time to challenge the Italian outfit.

Toyota‘s Jarno Trulli (1:36.711) produced a shock by snatching fifth place late on from Robert Kubica (1:36.727) in the BMW, whose hot lap was even faster than that of the pole-sitter in the first sector but lost time on the final part of the track.

German Nick Heidfeld‘s BMW was good enough for a comfortable seventh after putting down a time of 1:36.753 from Mark Webber‘s (1:37.009) Red Bull, while Fernando Alonso of Renault could only manage ninth.

Timo Glock completed an impressive day for Toyota by reaching the third qualifying phase, but had to settle for 10th.

Britons Jenson Button (Honda) and David Coulthard (Red Bull) just missed out on Q3, but have 11th and 12th on the grid to go from on Sunday.

Scot Coulthard in particular will be pleased after safety concerns almost ruled him out of the race altogether due to a crash in practice.

German Sebastian Vettel in the Toro Rosso did not get going, nor did WilliamsNico Rosberg. They secured only 15th and 16th positions respectively.

Vettel’s team-mate Sebastien Bourdais was the only driver to go off into the gravel and ended with 19th, while in final spot – 22nd – was young Briton Anthony Davidson in the Super Aguri.

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