Malaysian Grand Prix 2007 qualifying

Felipe Massa, Jean Todt, Sepang, 2007A last-gasp lap from Felipe Massa seized pole position from Fernando Alonso in the dying stages of qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Kimi Raikkonen lines up third ahead of Lewis Hamilton, while Nico Rosberg took an excellent sixth for Williams.

Final practice saw Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa ahead of their respective team mates – raising the prospect of some interesting inter-teams battles in the second qualifying session of the year.

Robert Kubica, fourth, proved the BMWs have plenty of pace and Nico Rosberg continued the positive showing from Williams with sixth.

And once again, both Super Aguris were quicker than both Hondas.

Part one

The new white markers identifying the software qualifying tyres made it easier to see how the front-running teams were able to save soft tyres.

Honda weren’t afforded that luxury, though, as Jenson Button had to use a set of his soft tyres to set a time provisionally sixth quickest.

Team mate Rubens Barrichello aborted two runs to dart back into the pits and Button also was chasing the setup on his troublesome RA107.

The tightly packed midfield put even the Renaults in danger of being squeezed out in the first session, and they shot out of the pits on soft tyres with two minutes to spare.

The final dash was also complicated by Alexander Wurz trailling into the pits with apparent gearbox failure.

He was dropped along with the Spykers, Barrichello (who did get a lap in but was nine tenths slower than Button), Anthony Davidson (who blamed Vitantonio Liuzzi for baulking him) and Scott Speed.

The Renault’s late surge jumped them into third and fourth ahead of both Ferraris – but the Renaults had used the softer compound.

17. Scott Speed 1m 36.578s
18. Anthony Davidson 1m 36.816s
19. Rubens Barrichello 1m 36.827s
20. Alexander Wurz 1m 37.326s
21. Christijan Albers 1m 38.279s
22. Adrian Sutil 1m 38.415s

Part two

The cut for the first session was brutal and it wouldn’t get any easier in the second with the midfield runners separated by just hundredths of a second.

All the drivers sprinted straight out onto the track as the second session began to get a lap in on soft tyres as rain threatened to fall.

Alonso was first out and fastest in the initial frenzy, with Felipe Massa four tenths behind and Hamilton fractionally quicker than Raikkonen.

After that was a significant lull as drivers waited to see if it would rain. It didn’t, all they all came pouring out of the pits together with a little over two minutes remaining.

The only drivers not doing a second lap were the McLarens, Ferraris and Kubica. Rosberg did his early while the track was empty – which was probably a smart move.

A fine lap from Jarno Trulli saw him vault to seventh, and team mate Ralf Schumacher also made it into the top ten meaning both Toyotas had made it into the final session again.

But Renault suffered the double blow of both drivers failing to get through. Giancarlo Fisichella had a torrid lap and Heikki Kovalainen ran wide at turn six. The rookie at least beat his elder team mate.

11. Heikki Kovalainen 1m 35.630s
12. Giancarlo Fisichella 1m 35.706s
13. David Coulthard 1m 35.766s
14. Takuma Sato 1m 35.945s
15. Jenson Button 1m 36.088s
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi 1m 36.145s

Part three

The concerns over rain seemed to have abated as the final session began and the top ten trundled out onto the circuit to burn fuel.

Rosberg was the first to get a competitive lap in at 1m 37.807s, but that was still lower than the quicker runners had managed during the first phase.

Alonso set a 1m 3.682s to go quickest but Massa’s time for second place was, unusually, one he had set during the early part of the session. Raikkonen was six tenths slower than Alonso in the second sector, suggesting a much heavier fuel load, and Hamilton fourth.

As they began their final laps the BMWs were in their now customary fifth and sixth, ahead of the Toyotas and then Webber and Rosberg.

But in the final rush of laps Massa revealed how much time he had in hand by seizing the pole from Alonso by three tenths of a second. Raikkonen couldn’t move up from third and Hamilton (who confessed to backing off too much when he saw rain on his visor) was over half a second further back in fourth.

The biggest surprise of the session was Nico Rosberg who split the BMWs to take sixth for Williams.

1. Felipe Massa 1m 35.043s
2. Fernando Alonso 1m 35.310s
3. Kimi Raikkonen 1m 35.479s
4. Lewis Hamilton 1m 36.045s
5. Nick Heidfeld 1m 36.543s
6. Nico Rosberg 1m 36.829s
7. Robert Kubica 1m 36.896s
8. Jarno Trulli 1m 36.902s
9. Ralf Schumacher 1m 37.078s
10. Mark Webber 1m 37.345s

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2 comments on Malaysian Grand Prix 2007 qualifying

  1. Number 38 said on 7th April 2007, 16:28

    I’m an old goat, I can’t see the numbers on the cars so I don’t know who is who but I do one thing which I’m sure few do……I “WATCH” the race on Live Timing. Yea, I think I’m Jean Todt sitting there watching the monitor and I’ll tell you one thing this three session qualifying stinks, oh sure it’s been acccepted by many but not because it’s good, just because it’s better that the silly one lap torture we used to watch. In reality, last night I “watched” the second session of qualifying and from 8:30 minutes to go all the way town to 2:45 minutes to go there was but one car on the circuit…..Rosberg. 5 minutes of a 15 minute session and 21 or 22 cars were PARKED !!!! NOTHING was MOVING !!! In the last session they don’t even do the “fuel burn off” foolishness
    any more, they just fill to the desired level and SIT until there was 2:20 minutes to go on the clock and then ……. ONE HOT LAP, we’re right back to the dull, boring idiocy of the past and add to this the posibility that one might get ‘blocked’ or ‘held up’ during his ‘one lap’ last ditch effort, this is not the way to qualify. It might have looked okay today but long term this system stinks. If one is to complain, one should have a reasonable replacement offering; here’s a BETTER system of qualiyfing……60 minutes, any fuel load, any tyres, ALL cars must complete at least 6 ‘timed laps’ in the first 1/2 hour and ALL cars must complete at least 6 ‘timed laps’ laps in the second 1/2 hour……a cars BEST single lap places him on the grid. This is REAL qualifying in a real field of racing cars under RACING conditions. There’s plenty of action for EVERYONE including Bernie’s all important tele cameras who pay the price for our entertainment. This business of running “light’ and running in the open is NOT real racing, why should it be used for Qualifying? At the kart track we often “pass the bottle” to qualify, the bottle contains numbered dice, you pour out a number , cars grid low numbers to the front, higher numbers to the rear, there are no complaints and we have some of the best racing you’ll ever see.
    Of course we’re all driving Ferraris, there are no Spykers!
    Number 38

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th April 2007, 23:17

    I’m with you on dropping fuel loads from qualifying. Having the knockout session achieves enough in terms of varying the grid (look at poor Wurz!)

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