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Massa storms to Singapore GP pole

Felipe Massa in SingaporeFelipe Massa took pole for Formula One's first ever night race by a huge margin after a dominant performance in qualifying at Singapore.

The Ferrari driver already held provisional pole after his first run in Q3, but briefly lost the place to title rival Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) in the closing seconds.

However even as Hamilton crossed the line, Massa was already on course to comfortably beat his lap, setting new benchmarks in all three sectors as he lapped in 1:44.801 to take pole by 0.664 seconds.

Kimi Raikkonen took third in the second Ferrari, and like Hamilton the Finn survived some early scares to reach Q3, having been pushed down into the elimination zone in Q1 being leaping up to first place in the dying seconds. Hamilton only just hung on in Q2 as a scruffy lap left him on the bubble in 10th at the end of the segment.

Robert Kubica claimed fourth for BMW, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen in the second McLaren, with BMW's Nick Heidfeld completing the top six.

Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel followed up his Monza win with a competitive seventh place, alongside Toyota's Timo Glock.

Williams showed resurgent form to get both cars into Q3 for the first time all year. Nico Rosberg will start ninth, with teammate Kazuki Nakajima in a career-best 10th.

There was massive disappointment for practice pace-setter Fernando Alonso, who had gone into qualifying as an outside contender for the front row following his rapid times so far this weekend. But the Spaniard will start 15th after his Renault cut out with a fuel feed problem before he could set a time in Q2, leaving Alonso visibly devastated as he climbed out of the stricken car.

His teammate Nelson Piquet will join Alonso on row eight, having failed to progress beyond Q1 despite being fourth-fastest earlier today.

Jenson Button maintained his strong practice form to get a Honda into Q2 for the first time since Hungary, with the Briton taking 12th on the grid, next to Jarno Trulli in the second Toyota, while his teammate Rubens Barrichello only managed 18th.

Neither Red Bull Racing driver reached Q3, as Mark Webber and David Coulthard both failed to gain time on their final Q2 runs and were pushed down from the lower top ten places to 13th and 14th

Force India worked hard to repair Giancarlo Fisichella's car after his heavy crash in final practice, only for the Italian to hit the wall again when he finally made it out in the closing minutes of Q1.

This time Fisichella only damaged his front wing when he slid into the Turn 3 barriers, but it was sufficient to end his session and leave him last on the grid, alongside teammate Adrian Sutil.

There was also more frustration for Sebastien Bourdais, who finds himself 10 places behind his Toro Rosso teammate Vettel in 17th on the grid after encountering dire handling problems in Q1. The Frenchman suspected technical problems having lapped 1.3 seconds slower than Vettel in the first segment.

Pos  Driver       Team                 Q1        Q2        Q3       Laps
 1.  Massa        Ferrari              1:44.519  1:44.014  1:44.801  16
 2.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes     1:44.501  1:44.932  1:45.465  14
 3.  Raikkonen    Ferrari              1:44.282  1:44.232  1:45.617  16
 4.  Kubica       BMW Sauber           1:44.740  1:44.519  1:45.779  18
 5.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes     1:44.311  1:44.207  1:45.873  19
 6.  Heidfeld     BMW Sauber           1:45.548  1:44.520  1:45.964  19
 7.  Vettel       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1:45.042  1:44.261  1:46.244  15
 8.  Glock        Toyota               1:45.184  1:44.441  1:46.328  21
 9.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota      1:45.103  1:44.429  1:46.611  17
10.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota      1:45.127  1:44.826  1:47.547  20
11.  Trulli       Toyota               1:45.642  1:45.038            12
12.  Button       Honda                1:45.660  1:45.133            14
13.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault     1:45.493  1:45.212            12
14.  Coulthard    Red Bull-Renault     1:46.028  1:45.298            16
15.  Alonso       Renault              1:44.971                       6
16.  Piquet       Renault              1:46.037                       6
17.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1:46.389                       6
18.  Barrichello  Honda                1:46.583                       7
19.  Sutil        Force India-Ferrari  1:47.940                      10
20.  Fisichella   Force India-Ferrari  No time                        2

All timing unofficial
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