Massa steals pole position from Hamilton in Turkey

Massa Turkey Qualifying

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa beats the world championship leader Lewis Hamilton in the final moments of qualifying to take his fifth pole position of the season.

The Brazilian has a good record at the Istanbul Park race circuit. Massa scored his first pole position and race victory last year, so to repeat his qualifying performance this season is a fantastic achievement.

Initially, Lewis Hamilton had the advantage after making the switch to the white stripes Bridgestone tyres during his final run. The Formula One rookie set the benchmark with a time of one minute, 27.373 seconds. But as his McLaren team were celebrating, Felipe Massa had the faster momentum out of the tricky final sequences of corners to cross the line with a time of one minute, 27.329 seconds.

This edge out Hamilton down to second but both drivers out-performed their respective team-mates, who will line up behind in third and fourth.

Kimi Raikkonen blew his chance to take top spot when he made a slight error into the penultimate corner. His time of one minute, 27.546 seconds was sufficient enough to keep McLaren’s Fernando Alonso down in fourth with a lap time of one minute, 27.574 seconds.

The double world champion opted for the harder Bridgestone compound in his bid to set the quickest time, but this gamble didn’t work and will line up on row two.

Behind the Ferrari and McLaren pair, Robert Kubica drove a great lap to record one minute, 27.722 seconds to take fifth for BMW-Sauber. Team-mate Nick Heidfeld is directly behind with one minute, 28.037 seconds, while Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg in the Williams completed row four with one minute, 28.491 seconds and one minute, 28.501 seconds respectively.

Row five comprises Jarno Trulli’s Toyota on one minute, 28.740 seconds, and Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault on one minute, 29.322 seconds.

Star performance of qualifying goes to Anthony Davidson. He beat his Japanese team-mate Takuma Sato by a long margin (Sato will start in P19), so to qualifying his Super Aguri just outside the top ten is a remarkable achievement for the British driver.

Looking at the times between the Ferraris and McLarens, Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix will be very tense for the four drivers as the championship moves into the final six races of the year. Felipe Massa is determined to turn his pole position with race victory, while his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen needs to strike back on else the Finn drops out of contention for the 2007 drivers’ title. As for Lewis Hamilton, he has track advantage over Fernando Alonso so another good result at Istanbul will be a huge benefit towards achieving his dream result of winning his first title in only his first season of Formula One racing. Alonso on the other hand, will want to close down the championship points gap by outracing both his team-mate and the Ferrari pair. It should be a thrilling race!

Starting grid for the Turkish Grand Prix

1. MASSA Ferrari 1:27.329
2. HAMILTON McLaren 1:27.373
3. RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1:27.546
4. ALONSO McLaren 1:27.574
5. KUBICA BMW 1:27.722
6. HEIDFELD BMW 1:28.037
7. KOVALAINEN Renault 1:28.491
8. ROSBERG Williams 1:28.501
9. TRULLI Toyota 1:28.740
10. FISICHELLA Renault 1:29.322
11. DAVIDSON Super Aguri 1:28.002
12. WEBBER Red Bull 1:28.013
13. COULTHARD Red Bull 1:28.100
14. BARRICHELLO Honda 1:28.188
15. BUTTON Honda 1:28.220
16. WURZ Williams 1:28.390
17. LIUZZI Toro Rosso 1:28.798
18. R SCHUMACHER Toyota 1:28.809
19. SATO Super Aguri 1:28.953
20. VETTEL Toro Rosso 1:29.408
21. SUTIL Spyker 1:29.861
22. YAMAMOTO Spyker 1:31.479

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