Felipe Massa takes pole by huge margin (2008 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying)

Hamilton split the Ferraris but could not nothing to stop the flying Massa

Hamilton split the Ferraris but could not nothing to stop the flying Massa

Felipe Massa will start Formula 1’s first ever night race in Singapore from pole position after taking pole position by over half a second.

Lewis Hamilton will join him on the front row despite suffering a scare in the second part of qualifying where he was almost eliminated for the second race in a row.

Part one

Giancarlo Fisichella failed to set a time after his crash during practice

Giancarlo Fisichella failed to set a time after his crash during practice

The Force India mechanics faced a race against time to get Giancarlo Fisichella on the track following his crash in practice. He did manage to get out – but went off again at turn three, although it looked as though it may have been caused by a mechanical fault.

The McLarens were quickest to start with as Ferrari lagged behind – Kimi Raikkonen near the bottom of the times following his spin in free practice three. But Raikkonen was right back on the pace with his second lap, the fastest of the weekend so far, edging out Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton.

Jenson Button made it out of the bottom five in his Honda but Sebastien Bourdais failed to accompany Sebastian Vettel into Q2, lapping 1.3s slower than his team mate.

David Coulthard made it into the second part of qualifying with a last-gasp improvement to put Piquet Jnr in the bottom five by 0.009s.

Bottom five drivers’ times for part one

16. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1’46.037
17. Sebastien Bourdais 1’46.389
18. Rubens Barrichello 1’46.583
19. Adrian Sutil 1’47.940
20. Giancarlo Fisichella no time

Part two

Sebastian Vettel was the only one of four Red Bull drivers to reach Q3

Sebastian Vettel was the only one of four Red Bull drivers to reach Q3

Fernando Alonso went out early in Q2 with a car failure, ending his session and leaving him 15th on the grid next to team mate Piquet.

Lewis Hamilton also had a problem early on, missing the second corner and aborting his first attempt at a lap. Meanwhile the Ferraris took over the top of the time sheets with Felipe Massa ahead of Raikkonen.

Heikki Kovalainen then split the Ferraris with Sebastian Vettel taking fourth. But Hamilton was struggling, locking his brakes several times on his laps and managing only eighth. As other drivers improved Hamilton was left on the brink of elimination – falling to tenth, and just 0.1s away from being eliminated.

Neither of the Red Bulls made it through and both were beaten by Jenson Button, who put his Honda 12th. Jarno Trulli took 11th while team mate Timo Glock made it into the top ten.

Bottom five drivers’ times for part two

11. Jarno Trulli 1’45.038
12. Jenson Button 1’45.133
13. David Coulthard 1’45.212
14. Mark Webber 1’45.298
15. Fernando Alonso no time

Part three

After nearly being knocked out in Q2 Hamilton took second on the grid

After nearly being knocked out in Q2 Hamilton took second on the grid

The top ten for the final session featured the McLarens, Ferraris and BMWs as usual, plus both Williams, Timo Glock and Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel was the first to do a lap bu his 1’46.614 was quickly beaten by Raikkonen. Hamilton went 0.4s faster than Hamilton but Massa edged him by just over a tenth of a second. Kovalainen meanwhile could only manage tenth.

On the second round of laps Raikkonen briefly took second but Hamilton found a lot of time in the final sector to grab provisional pole position.

That too proved fleeting as Massa was faster than everyone in every sector, taking pole position by over 0.6s.

Top ten drivers’ times for part three

1. Felipe Massa 1’44.801
2. Lewis Hamilton 1’45.465
3. Kimi Raikkonen 1’45.617
4. Robert Kubica 1’45.779
5. Heikki Kovalainen 1’45.873
6. Nick Heidfeld 1’45.964
7. Sebastian Vettel 1’46.244
8. Timo Glock 1’46.328
9. Nico Rosberg 1’46.611
10. Kazuki Nakajima 1’47.547

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48 comments on Felipe Massa takes pole by huge margin (2008 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying)

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  1. Massa by 0.6s??? Anyone have any idea why this is?

  2. Massa’s final lap looked a lot cleaner then Hamilton. He was barley using the run offs where Kimi and Hamilton were a hair’s width from crashing out.

    There must be a delay on speed. As soon as it was over I opened my browser and you had the post up. Did you pre write it or did it end a while ago?
    Its 20 past the hour right now.

  3. Pedro Andrade said on 27th September 2008, 16:22

    Either Massa is really low on fuel, or his lap was staggering!

  4. Pedro: I think it is both really, given what we know 0,3secs due to fuel and 0,3 due to the perfect lap? We’ll know tomorrow if he is 1-2 laps(means he drove perfectly) less fueled or 3-4 laps(means Kimi and Ham are equally quick on a different strategy).

  5. Low on fuel or not, Massa’s final lap was near perfect.

    What were McLaren up to in Q2, releasing Hamilton so late for his second attempt that he picked up traffic? Had Alonso’s car not blown, LH would be 11th off the grid tomorrow. Just now, McLaren/Lewis look set to self-destruct in the final races this year too.

  6. massa did a stunning lap…his race engineer suggested both merc and ferrari are pn similar stratergey so i guess he did do an awsome lap…

    mark suggested that ferrari is easier to drive thats a big plus for hot and humidrace plus a long turning track…

    ferrari are defifnitly looking stong…they shoul do well if nothing goes wrong..

    hamilton took it a bit easier and almost paid the price..i guess he didnt expect ferrari to be that strong here or he thoughthe had it al covered…

  7. Speed delays their broadcast to show an intro and to get the interviews in. TSN shows it live though.

    Hopefully Kimi gets past Hamilton at the start and passes Massa at the pits!

    Vettal looks like he is on a one stopper maybe…?

  8. AussieLeb said on 27th September 2008, 16:53

    Q2 relative to Q3 is usually the hint as to strategies. So aside from Lewis’s bad Q2 you can see that Massa was quicker by 0.2 on the rest. If anything he might be slightly lighter but should pull out a big enough gap by the time pits come around. If Kimi manages to force Lewis into an error it will be interesting to see how Lewis copes. I think Kimi is the heavier of the “Big 4″. Look for a surprise in Vettel. He could be running quite heavy and could push for a podium again especially if Kimi and Lewis tangle.

  9. suvodip mitra said on 27th September 2008, 16:54

    clearly massa’s ferrari is low on fuel. I do not think massa will gain much advantage tommorow. using the run off area can be quick too, using it doesnt mean anything slow.

  10. cyanide said on 27th September 2008, 16:54

    Dan, Speed was lagging by about 8 minutes, looking at someone’s comments during the live blog.

  11. This is beginning to look like last year, I am not remotely going to suggest that Lewis “chokes” but the tail-end of his season last year had mistakes and he paid the price. Could be a repeat performance, guess time will tell?

    I’ve watched a little and I have to admit Bernie has got one F1 change right this year, it is rather exciting watch the cars race at night, wouldn’t want every race thus but it makes for a god change.

    Guess it is all up to the weather gods now

  12. Fergus Gallas said on 27th September 2008, 17:05

    I came across a F12008Gp stats.

    Mclarens has a good equipment, no questions here. People claims Hamilton as one of the F1 greaters. This is the 15th GP of the season. So, why on earth a non F1 material(Massa), according to the most part of the visitors of this site, has started 9 times ahead of supergod of hotwheels ?

  13. Even at an 8 minute delay Kieth managed to get this post up fast.

  14. Sterling lap by Massa, no two ways about it. I do also suspect he maybe lighter on fuel than Hamilton and Raikkonen but still, his lap was perfect.

    I think Hamilton and Raikkonen are on very similar fuel levels. Great to see the BMWs up where they belong too. Shame about Alonso. Yet again he was driving the wheels off that Renault, why oh why can he not be driving a competitive car. Such talent going to waste.

    For once I agree with Rider and Blundell: another disappointing effort from Kovalainen. He’s got such great equipment under him but he’s under-utilising it terribly. Plus, it would be handier for Hamilton’s cause if he could cause trouble for Ferrari but he just seems to never be in the picture.

  15. Fergus: Becouse there is a ‘UK’ in this blog url, perhaps? :D

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