Massa puts Ferrari on pole for European Grand Prix 23 Aug 2008
For fleeting moments in Saturdays qualifying session in Valencia McLarens Lewis Hamilton appeared to have done enough to secure his third consecutive pole position, but Felipe Massas final run in the Ferrari unseated the Englishman.
The Brazilian said that it all came together beautifully for him in the first sector, yielding a lap of 1m 38.989s to Hamiltons 1m 39.199s. Behind them, Robert Kubica was very happy with his BMW Sauber as he took third on 1m 39.392s. All three used Bridgestones super-soft tyre, whereas Kimi Raikkonen stuck with the harder prime tyre for his fourth-fastest lap of 1m 39.488s.
In fifth place came Hungarian Grand Prix winner Heikki Kovalainen in the second McLaren, and practice/qualifying sensation Sebastian Vettel made sixth place for Toro Rosso on 1m 40.142s after being second quickest in Q1 and setting the pace in Q2.
Jarno Trulli was fastest for Toyota in that first session, but ended up seventh in Q3 in 1m 40.309s, to head BMW Saubers Nick Heidfeld (1m 40.631s), Williams Nico Rosberg (1m 40.721s) and Sebastien Bourdais (who completed Toro Rossos surprise by getting the second STR3 into the top 10 with 1m 40.750s).
There were some spots of rain down the main straight at one stage, but Kubica reported that they had no effect on performance.
Q2 weeded out Williams Kazuki Nakajima (1m 38.428s), Renaults Fernando Alonso (who was on a better lap until he ran wide over a kerb and thus had to be satisfied with 1m 38.435s), Toyotas Timo Glock (1m 38.499s), Red Bulls Mark Webber (1m 38.515s) and Renaults Nelson Piquet (1m 38.744s).
Hondas hopes took a dive after Jenson Buttons promising practice performances could not be repeated, leaving the Englishman 16th on 1m 38.880s. Team mate Rubens Barrichello was 19th on 1m 39.811s. Between the RA108s was David Coulthard on 1m 39.235s for Red Bull and Giancarlo Fisichella on 1m 39.268s, whose Force India team mate Adrian Sutil brought up the rear on 1m 39.943s.
Incredibly, given the unforgiving nature of the track, nobody had any significant incidents, though most expect safety-car periods to be inevitable in Sunday's race.