Spanish GP – Qualifying

Massa secured pole position for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix as fans welcomed F1 to Europe after an unusually long break. The Brazilian, who won the last race in Bahrain four weeks ago, snatched pole away from McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in the dieing seconds of qualifying.

Ferrari upstaged McLaren despite the Woking based team’s performance in practice this weekend and the numerous aerodynamic aids they brought to the Catalunya Circuit. Massa set a time of 1:21.421, 0.030 seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso, driving at his home Grand Prix this weekend. Kimi Raikkonen claimed third, ahead of a heavily fuelled Lewis Hamilton, as Ferrari and McLaren once again dominated the front two rows.

With a track temperature of 49 degrees and gusting winds, Toyota were amongst the early runners in Q1. Scott Speed, of Toro Rosso, was the first casualty, describing gearbox/engine related problems which leave him at the back of the grid for tomorrow’s race.

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the session with six minutes remaining. Massa secured second despite struggling with his Ferrari through the corners. Mark Webber also retired during the session with hydraulics failure.

At the end of Q1 the following drivers were eliminated,
17. Ralf Schumacher
18. Wurz
19. Webber
20. Sutil
21. Albers
22. Speed

Teams weren’t so eager to join the racetrack in Q2. Again Toyota were amongst the first of the early runners, with Heikki Kovalainen of Renault setting the early pace.

While Ferrari and McLaren fought for the top spots, the Super Aguris of Davidson and Sato struggled. Davidson had an off track excursion at turn 3 as Sato abandoned his car. Liuzzi also retired, seemingly with the same problem as his team-mate Speed.

The next six to be eliminated were,
11. Rosberg
12. Barrichello
13. Sato
14. Button
15. Davidson
16. Liuzzi.

Much to the annoyance of team-mate Alonso (no doubt), Lewis Hamilton led the ten drivers out of the pit lane. During the first lap, Raikkonen challenged Hamilton for the lead but failed to pass the young Brit.

Alonso set a time of 1:22.846 on scrubbed tyres early on, but the real competitive times were left until the final seven minutes of the session. McLaren and Ferrari were in a league of their own, exchanging times with one another, until Alonso was unable to use his home advantage to beat the time laid down by Ferrari’s Massa.

1. F.Massa, Ferrari 1:21.421
2. F.Alonso, McLaren 1:21.451
3. K.Räikkönen, Ferrari 1:21.723
4. L.Hamilton, McLaren 1:21.785
5. R.Kubica, BMW 1:22.253
6. J.Trulli, Toyota 1:22.324
7. N.Heidfeld, BMW 1:22.389
8. H.Kovalainen, Renault 1:22.568
9. D.Coulthard, Red Bull 1:22.749
10. G.Fisichella, Renault 1:22.881
11. N.Rosberg, Williams 1:21.968
12. R.Barrichello, Honda 1:22.097
13. T.Sato, Super Aguri 1:22.115
14. J.Button, Honda 1:22.120
15. A.Davidson, Super Aguri 1:22.295
16. V.Liuzzi, Toro Rosso 1:22.508
17. R.Schumacher, Toyota 1:22.666
18. A.Wurz, Williams 1:22.769
19. M.Webber, Red Bull 1:23.398
20. A.Sutil, Spyker F1 1:23.811
21. C.Albers, Spyker F1 1:23.990
22. S.Speed, Toro Rosso Unclassified