Massa beats Hamilton to Brazilian GP pole

Ferrari driver Felipe Massa beat the title contenders to pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos after a commanding performance in qualifying on Saturday

Massa beats Hamilton to Brazilian GP pole

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren will join Massa on the front row, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen beating McLaren's Fernando Alonso to third.

Local hero Massa was a comfortable four tenths of a second clear of his rivals after the first runs in Q3, and then improved his time by 0.2 seconds with his second lap.

Hamilton managed to go faster in the middle sector, but didn't quite have enough speed in the final part of the lap and missed pole by a tenth of a second.

Alonso had only been fifth quickest behind Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber at first, but improved on his final run to take fourth, 0.034 seconds slower than third-placed Raikkonen.

Although Webber was unable to hang on to his top four spot, he still finished the session in a superb fifth place, with teammate David Coulthard completed a strong qualifying performance for Red Bull in ninth.

The BMW Saubers took sixth and seventh, with Nick Heidfeld out-qualifying Robert Kubica with his last run after trailing the Pole throughout Q1, Q2 and the first Q3 runs.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli recovered from a poor practice to take eighth, with Williams driver Nico Rosberg filling the final top ten spot.

Renault's Heikki Kovalainen made a shock early departure from qualifying when he missed the Q1 cut by 0.024 seconds. The Finn will start 17th on the grid after a costly error at the final corner.

It was a disappointing session for the Renault team, as Kovalainen's teammate Giancarlo Fisichella only reached 12th.

Honda Racing driver Rubens Barrichello continued to show good form at home and came within 0.044 seconds of reaching Q3.

The Brazilian had to be content with 11th, but he still out-qualified teammate Jenson Button for the first time since the Nurburgring, as the Briton struggled to 16th.

Both Toro Rosso drivers escaped Q1 once again. Sebastian Vettel and Vitantonio Liuzzi will share the seventh row, ahead of Ralf Schumacher in his last start for Toyota.

Debutant Kazuki Nakajima had looked well-matched with Williams teammate Rosberg in Friday practice, but the GP2 graduate did not fare so well in his first F1 qualifying session and only managed 19th, between the two Super Aguris.

The Spykers completed the back row. Although Adrian Sutil's car ground to a halt with a fuel pressure problem after his first Q1 flying lap, he still managed to qualify ahead of teammate Sakon Yamamoto.

Brazil qualifying breakdown Session 1 Session 2 Session 3
Pos Driver Team Pos Time Lap Pos Time Lap Pos Time Lap
1. Massa Ferrari 1. 1:12.303 4 3. 1:12.374 3 1. 1:11.931 12
2. Hamilton McLaren 4. 1:13.033 3 2. 1:12.296 3 2. 1:12.082 13
3. Raikkonen Ferrari 3. 1:13.016 4 1. 1:12.161 3 3. 1:12.322 13
4. Alonso McLaren 2. 1:12.895 6 4. 1:12.637 3 4. 1:12.356 13
5. Webber Red Bull 5. 1:13.081 6 6. 1:12.683 6 5. 1:12.928 12
6. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 9. 1:13.472 6 10. 1:12.888 6 6. 1:13.081 12
7. Kubica BMW Sauber 6. 1:13.085 7 5. 1:12.641 3 7. 1:13.129 13
8. Trulli Toyota 8. 1:13.470 7 8. 1:12.832 6 8. 1:13.195 12
9. Coulthard Red Bull 7. 1:13.264 6 9. 1:12.846 6 9. 1:13.272 12
10. Rosberg Williams 13. 1:13.707 6 7. 1:12.752 6 10. 1:13.477 12
11. Barrichello Honda 12. 1:13.661 6 11. 1:12.932 6
12. Fisichella Renault 10. 1:13.482 6 12. 1:12.968 6
13. Vettel Toro Rosso 15. 1:13.853 6 13. 1:13.058 6
14. Liuzzi Toro Rosso 11. 1:13.607 6 14. 1:13.251 6
15. R.Schumacher Toyota 14. 1:13.767 6 15. 1:13.315 6
16. Button Honda 16. 1:14.054 6 16. 1:13.469 6
17. Kovalainen Renault 17. 1:14.078 7
18. Sato Super Aguri 18. 1:14.098 6
19. Nakajima Williams 19. 1:14.417 6
20. Davidson Super Aguri 20. 1:14.596 6
21. Sutil Spyker 21. 1:15.217 3
22. Yamamoto Spyker 22. 1:15.487 6
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