Massa claims pole for Turkish F1 Grand Prix

Last updated at 14:47 10 May 2008

Felipe Massa clinched a third successive pole position for the Turkish Grand

Prix, making the perfect start to his bid for a hat-trick of victories at

Istanbul Park.

Massa has reigned supreme on this track for the last two years, and with all three races in Istanbul being won from pole since the track's debut in 2005, the Brazilian will start a hot favourite for the win.

Scroll down to read more:


Pole star: Massa

Behind Massa, who claimed the 12th pole overall of his Formula One career, come

the McLaren duo of Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton.

For Kovalainen, racing this weekend after passing a medical in the wake of his

150mph shunt in the Spanish Grand Prix a fortnight ago, it was a superb

achievement, with the Finn starting from the highest grid position of his


Hamilton at least edged out reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen into fourth

as the Briton seeks to close the nine-point gap at the top of the drivers'

standings to the Ferrari star.

Robert Kubica starts fifth for BMW Sauber, followed by Mark Webber in his Red

Bull and then Fernando Alonso in his Renault.

Completing the top 10 on the grid will be Jarno Trulli for Toyota, BMW Sauber's

Nick Heidfeld - celebrating his 31st birthday today - and David Coulthard in his

Red Bull.

With no Super Aguri following the financial collapse earlier this week of the

small Japanese privateer, the FIA were forced into a minor revamp for


In previous grands prix when there has been a 22-car field, six drivers dropped

out at the end of Q1 and Q2.

However, with only 20 cars to line up on the grid from tomorrow, five drivers

are now eliminated come the conclusion of the first two sessions.

In this instance, given Super Aguri's demise, Force India will take up the two

slots at the back of the grid which had normally been the preserve of Takuma

Sato and Anthony Davidson.

Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil had previously struggled for balance and

grip in practice, and were clearly unable to correct matters for qualifying.

Kazuki Nakajima will start 16th for Williams, with Nelson Piquet Jnr 17th after

wrecking his final hot lap at the end of Q1 by going off track, while Sebastien

Bourdais starts 18th in his Toro Rosso.

For the five grid slots ahead of them, Nico Rosberg is 11th in his Williams,

followed by the Honda of Rubens Barrichello who tomorrow will set a new grands

prix record, competing in his 257th race.

The Brazilian outqualified team-mate Jenson Button for the third time this

year, edging out the Briton by 0.079secs.

Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel starts 14th, with Timo Glock 15th for Toyota,

although his car suffered a front-right suspension failure towards the end of


Massa was understandably thrilled as he said: "It was a great qualifying as I

put together a very good lap at the end.

"I'm just so happy, my third time here with Ferrari, and the third time on

pole. I hope I can repeat the wins.

"I just love this track. I get a lot of pleasure from driving on it, and now

I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

"I will have the best race possible and try to do everything right, although

it won't be easy because our competitors are strong."

Kovalainen, who sustained mild concussion in Barcelona following his accident,

said: "It's been a bit of a rollercoaster, surviving without any injuries. I

was very lucky

"Yesterday I felt happy with the car. I've been feeling confident and it's a

pleasure to start from the front row. Hopefully now I can have a good race."

Hamilton, who admitted this week he misses winning, has a lot of hard work

ahead of him if the 23-year-old is to return to the top of the podium.

Hamilton said: "It was a tough qualifying session. I had a great lap in Q1,

but then struggled in Q2 on the option tyre.

"I returned to the prime tyre for Q3, but I guess I made the wrong decision.

"I still think we've a good package. Heikki and I have shown we are up there

with the Ferraris, and I think we can match them in the race."

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now