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Massa makes it three poles in a row in Istanbul 10 May 2008

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren, Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren in parc ferme after qualifying.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 10 May 2008 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.08.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 10 May 2008 Timo Glock (GER) Toyota TF108.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 10 May 2008 Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 10 May 2008 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda RA108 in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 10 May 2008

Felipe Massa put his Ferrari on pole for the Turkish Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon, for the third consecutive time in Istanbul Park. But the two McLarens of Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton lined up second and third and they will be doing their best to frustrate the Brazilian’s aspirations for his hat-trick of victories here on Sunday.

Massa set the pace when Q3 began, with a lap of 1m 27.896s, but it was a good job that he was able to improve that to 1m 27.617s as Kovalainen punched in a 1m 27.808s on his second run. The Finn showed absolutely no ill effects after his nasty shunt in the recent Spanish Grand Prix, and seemed very happy with his car.

Hamilton had been very fast in Q1 until Massa beat him, but was unhappy with his McLaren’s ultimate performance on his second try in Q3. Where Kovalainen made the medium Bridgestone tyres work for him, Hamilton admitted that his choice of the harder tyre was not the answer.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth for Ferrari and it may be that he is running more fuel than Massa. The Finn lapped in 1m 27.936s, compared to Hamilton’s 1m 27.923s.

Robert Kubica put his BMW Sauber fifth on the grid with 1m 28.390s, followed by Mark Webber for Red Bull on 1m 28.417s, Fernando Alonso for Renault on 1m 28.422s, Jarno Trulli for Toyota on 1m 28.836s and birthday boy Nick Heidfeld for BMW Sauber on 1m 28.882s.

David Coulthard had got the second Red Bull through to Q3 to endorse the team’s growing improvement, but a lap of 1m 29.959s left him 10th overall.

Nico Rosberg was the fastest of the five who failed to make it through Q2, lapping his Williams in 1m 27.012s to head the Hondas of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button on 1m 27.219s and 1m 27.298s respectively, Sebastian Vettel’s Toro Rosso on 1m 27.412s and Timo Glock’s Toyota on 1m 27.806s. Barrichello faces what his team say is his 257th start, which will break Riccardo Patrese’s long-held record.

Yet again qualifying did not happen for Kazuki Nakajima, who was 16th in his Williams on 1m 27.547s and thus failed to make it through Q1. Equally at sea was Nelson Piquet on 1m 27.568s for Renault, then came Sebastien Bourdais on 1m 27.621s for Toro Rosso and the Force Indias of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil. The Italian lapped his VJM01 in 1m 27.807s and the German in 1m 28.325s, but with the former’s three-place grid penalty for exiting the pits against the red light on Friday morning, they will reverse places on the grid.