Hamilton beats Raikkonen to pole position at Fuji 11 Oct 2008
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton will start the Japanese Grand Prix from exactly the place he wanted after he secured pole position in style for McLaren at Fuji Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
Having bided his time in Q1 and Q2, with second and third-fastest times respectively, he played second fiddle to Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen during the first runs in Q3 before striking with a lap of 1m 18.404s to deprive the Finn. Raikkonen had to be content with second place after lapping in 1m 18.644s.
Felipe Massa seemed set for third place in the second Ferrari until last-minute improvements from Renaults Fernando Alonso and McLarens Heikki Kovalainen left him only fifth in the line-up. Alonso banged in 1m 18.852s, but was beaten to third by Kovalainens 1m 18.821s. Massas best was 1m 18.874s. Nobody can say the times in Formula One at present are not exquisitely close.
Timo Glock seemed to have maintained the pace he has shown all weekend, but found himself beaten late in the session by Robert Kubicas late charge for BMW Sauber to 1m 18.979s for sixth and Toyota team mate Jarno Trullis 1m 19.026s. Glock thus starts eighth on 1m 19.118s.
The Toro Rossos will make up the fifth row, with Sebastian Vettel on 1m 19.638s and Sebastien Bourdais on 1m 20.167s.
Their Red Bull siblings are close by, with David Coulthard out-qualifying Mark Webber, 1m 18.187s to 1m 18.354s for 11th and 13th places. They were separated by Renaults Nelson Piquet on 1m 18.274s.
Neither Williams made it through from Q2 this time. Kazuki Nakajima was the faster on 1m 18.594s for 14th, with Nico Rosberg 15th on 1m 18.672s.
Very surprisingly, Q1 weeded out Nick Heidfeld, who was not happy with his BMW Sauber on his way to 1m 18.835s for only 16th fastest time. He was only just ahead of Rubens Barrichello, who took his Honda round in 1m 18.882s to pip team mate Jenson Buttons 1m 19.100s. Adrian Sutil again bested Force India team mate Giancarlo Fisi8chella, with 1m 19.163s to 1m 19.910s.