Brazilian delighted after pipping Schumacher
Ferrari wrapped up the front row for the Turkish Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon, but it was Felipe Massa who took pole position - his first in Formula One racing - after displacing Michael Schumacher in the closing stages.
As Massa set the fastest time from Schumacher (1m 27.306s to 1m 27.385s) in the first session, David Coulthards Red Bull (1m 29.136s), the Toro Rossos of Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi (1m 29.158s and 1m 29.250s), Tiago Monteiros Midland (1m 29.901s) and the Super Aguris of Sakon Yamamoto and Takuma Sato (1m 30.607s and 1m 30.850s) were all ruled out. Yamamoto thus out-qualified his team mate for the first time, Sato complaining of a "significant chassis problem" on his SA06.
Renaults Fernando Alonso set the fastest time of the day with 1m 26.917s shortly after the second session began, but then Schumacher altered the parameters with 1m 25.850s. Later Jenson Buttons 1m 26.872s put him ahead of the Spaniard, too. That session accounted for Red Bulls Christian Klien (1m 27.852s), Pedro de la Rosa in the McLaren (1m 27.897s), Toyotas Jarno Trulli (1m 27.973s), a glum Rubens Barrichello for Honda (1m 28.257s), Nico Rosberg in the Williams (1m 28.386s) and Midlands Christijan Albers (1m 28.639s).
In keeping with Q1 and Q2, the track temperature dropped again for Q3 (from 53 degrees Celsius to 49 and then to 45). Renaults Giancarlo Fisichella and Alonso set the initial pace with 1m 27.878s and 1m 28.071s respectively, both men finding their Michelins much improved, having changed compounds following Friday's graining issues. However, soon the Ferraris were on the warpath again as the track temperature climbed again once more to 49. First Massa posted 1m 27.307s to go fastest, then Schumacher recorded 1m 27.284s. Right at the end Button set the fastest sector one time and appeared to be on a quick lap, but his effort ended with 1m 27.790s which was good enough only for seventh.
While that was happening Massa banged in 1m 26.907s to leap ahead of his team mate, who earlier had twice gone wide in Turn one. Behind them, Alonso leapfrogged Fisichella for third with 1m 27.321s, the Italian improving his time to 1m 27.564s for fourth. Toyotas Ralf Schumacher was fifth with 1m 27.569s (but will lose 10 grid places after a precautionary engine change), then just ahead of Button, Nick Heidfeld was BMW Saubers lead runner with 1m 27.785s. That left Kimi Raikkonen eighth in his McLaren with 1m 27.866s from Robert Kubica in the second BMW Sauber on 1m 28.167s and Williams driver Mark Webber 10th with 1m 29.436s.
Its fantastic to take my first pole, said a delighted Massa. But Schumacher looked a little less cheerful and admitted that he had a good car but didnt quite get the best from it the way his team mate did. In third, Alonso said that there was no way for Renault and Michelin to match Bridgestones one-lap performance, but the Spaniard is feeling very optimistic for tomorrow and a great race is in prospect.
With Ralf Schumacher and Albers receiving penalties for engine changes, this is the provisional grid: Massa, Schumacher; Alonso, Fisichella; Heidfeld, Button; Raikkonen, Kubica; Webber, Klien; de la Rosa, Trulli; Barrichello, Rosberg; Ralf Schumacher, Coulthard; Speed, Liuzzi; Monteiro, Yamamoto; Sato, Albers.