Massa pips Alonso for Spanish pole 12 May 2007
McLaren were expecting a drubbing from Ferrari in qualifying, but in the end Felipe Massa took pole position by just three-hundredths of a second from world champion Fernando Alonso in a dramatic conclusion to the final session.
Earlier on Alonso had beaten the two Ferraris with a lap of 1m 21.661s to Massas 1m 21.163s and Kimi Raikkonens 1m 22.084s. But on their final runs, when all but the Renault drivers chose Bridgestones medium (softer) tyre compound, Massas 1m 21.421s proved just beyond Alonsos 1m 21.451s reach.
Behind them, Raikkonen edged Lewis Hamilton for third with 1m 21.723s to the Englishmans 1m 21.785s.
The leading quartet ultimately outran the BMW Saubers, which had looked fast all through practice and qualifying. Robert Kubica managed the fifth-fastest time of 1m 22.253s, but Nick Heidfeld was separated from his team mate by Jarno Trulli in the sole Toyota to get beyond Q1. The German lapped in 1m 22.389s compared to the Italians 1m 22.324s.
Behind them, the Renaults sandwiched David Coulthards Red Bull. As the Scot made full use of his revamped car to lap in 1m 22.749s, Heikki Kovalainen out-qualified team mate Giancarlo Fisichella, with 1m 22.568s to 1m 22.881s.
The second session weeded out Williams Nico Rosberg (1m 21.968s), Hondas Rubens Barrichello (1m 22.097s), Super Aguris Takuma Sato (1m 22.115s), Jenson Button (1m 22.120s) in the second Honda, Anthony Davidson (1m 22.293s) in the corresponding Super Aguri and Tonio Liuzzi (1m 22.508s) for Toro Rosso.
The two works Hondas were reliable but not fast enough, while Satos Super Aguri stopped out on the track with fuel pick-up problems and Davidson spun his. Toro Rosso did not send Liuzzi out after he had made it through Q1 before being hit by gearbox problems.
In that session the fallers were Toyotas Ralf Schumacher (1m 22.666s), Williams Alex Wurz (1m 22.769s), Mark Webber (who had hydraulic problems with his Red Bull after an initial lap of 1m 23.398s), Adrian Sutil (1m 23.811s) and Christijan Albers (1m 23.990s) in the Spykers and Scott Speed, who did not do a flying lap after the same transmission issue that would later halt Liuzzi stopped his Toro Rosso.
When you look how was things after Q1 and Q2, Massa said, the idea is that everybody is very, very close. Ferrari and McLaren have a similar pace and this was the most real idea of our performances that we saw today.
In other words, tomorrows Spanish Grand Prix is going to be a very tough battle between the leading quartet, while BMW Sauber will be a threat if either of the leading teams stumble.