In the closing seconds of qualifying, Felipe Massa grabbed pole away from Fernando Alonso for tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix. The Brazilian secured a time of 1:35.043, 0.277 seconds faster than the McLaren, which had dominated the previous two qualifying sessions. Kimi Raikkonen, team-mate of Massa and winner of the Australian GP three weeks ago, finished third, 0.4 seconds behind the pole sitter.
Lining up behind Raikkonen tomorrow will be McLaren’s number two driver, Lewis Hamilton. The Brit continued to impress during qualifying, despite being over a second slower than the pole sitter and 0.4 seconds slower than the Finn. The BMW of Nick Heidfeld completed the top five, a further 0.5 seconds behind.
Behind Ferrari and McLaren, Nico Rosberg nudged out the second BMW of Kubica in sixth, with the Toyotas of Trulli and Schumacher showing improvement in eighth and ninth. Mark Webber completed the top ten, while his team-mate Coulthard fell at the second hurdle, landing up an unlucky thirteenth.
Renault, who had won the last two GPs at Sepang, struggled throughout the sessions. Fisichella finished twelve, with rookie Kovalainen outpacing his team-mate for eleventh. Super Aguri again outperformed the first team Honda, with Sato 14th ahead of a frustrated Jenson Button. Wurz suffered gearbox issues and failed to progress further than the first qualifying session.
Qualifying times for the Malaysian Grand Prix:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:35.043
2. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:35.310
3. Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen, Ferrari, 1:35.479
4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:36.045
5. Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 1:36.543
6. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:36.829
7. Robert Kubica, BMW, 1:36.896
8. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:36.902
9. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:37.078
10. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:37.345
11. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:35.630
12. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:35.706
13. David Coulthard, Red Bull-Renault, 1:35.766
14. Takuma Sato, Super Aguri-Honda, 1:35.945
15. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:36.088
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi, STR-Ferrari, 1:36.145
17. Scott Speed, STR-Ferrari, 1:36.578
18. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri-Honda, 1:36.816
19. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:36.827
20. Alexander Wurz, Williams-Toyota, 1:37.326
21. Christijan Albers, Spyker-Ferrari, 1:38.279
22. Adrian Sutil, Spyker-Ferrari, 1:38.415