Turkish GP - Saturday - Qualifying Session Report
Massa goes ahead
Felipe Massa took pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix in the final seconds of the final session, edging out Lewis Hhamilton by 0.05secs. The pair were two-tenths of a second ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who made a mistake in the final sector and had to make do with third place while Fernando Alonso was fourth, half a second behind hamilton but presumably carrying a different fuel load. To avoid problems between the two drivers the McLaren team used two different pit crews but in the event there was no trouble as Hamilton had left the pits before Alonso arrived.
This means that the two McLarens are now both on the dirty side of the track and as Kimi Raikkonen pointed out in previous years P3 is "a better place to start. It might make a difference".
The day, however, belonged to Massa.
"We have had many tight qualifyings this year," he said. "Pole position is always difficult. I was pretty competitive for the whole weekend. The balance was right and I just managed to put it together when it counted. It is very difficult to be concentrated and do everything right. We have a good race car but they [The McLarens] are going to be very competitive as well. It will be difficult for us. But a nice race for the people!"
Hamilton seemed quite happy with his performance, particularly given that he had not been very confident after the first two qualifying sessions in which he had twice been only fourth fastest. He admitted to having lost a couple of tenths in the final sector but said that he was happy to know that the gap was as small as it was.
"Going into qualifying I knew I had the pace," he said. "I was quite confident but Q1 and Q2 was a bit of a suprise to me. I could not get a clean smooth lap."
But in the final two laps he was able to get a time. Most importantly for him, however, was the fact that he was clear of Fernando Alonso.
"It is obvioiusly a positive," he said. "Fernando has been improving all the way through. I seemed to lack pace at the beginning and I am very pleased that I was able to pull out the pace and get ahead of him. Having the experience in GP2 and knowing you can overtake here eases your mind. At some tracks you cannot get close enough, here is still tricky but it is possible. We have a good car, a good startegy and I am looking forward to having a good race with these guys."
Raikkonen was third and happy with that.
"I made a mistake but on the last lap I had a bit of oversteer in the last two corners. Third is OK. We have a good race car and hopefully we can fight back. We will see what we can do in the race."
The third row of the grid would be made up (as usual) of the two BMWs with Robert Kubica just beating Nick Heidfeld after the two men had exactly identical lap times in Q2.
Behind them, albeit four-tenths down was the Renault of Heikki Kovalainen, which was just ahead of Nico Rosberg's Williams-Toyota.
The top 10 was completed by Jarno Trulli's Toyota and Giancarlo Fisichella's Renault.
The Q2 session had been an interesting one with Anthony Davidson just failing to get into the top 10 in his Super Aguri, an impressive performance. He was ahead of the two Red Bulls of Mark Webber and David Coulthard, the factory Hondas of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button and Alexander Wurz, who was again rather disappointing in his Williams, ending up 16th.
The biggest disappointment was (as usual) Ralf Schumacher in his Toyota who failed to get through the Q3 session, which was not very good when compared to Trulli's effort.
Ralf was even beaten by Tonio Liuzzi, who missed out on going through to Q2 by 0.006s. Takuma Sato was 19th with Sebastian Vettel 20th. At the back as usual were the Spykers with Adrian Sutil outpacing Sakon Yamamoto by a decent margin, a good result for the German given the Japanese driver's pace thus far.