Massa wins pole for Malaysian GP

Massa wins pole for Malaysian GP

Massa wins pole for Malaysian GP
April 7th, 2007

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Sports Network) - Brazilian Felipe Massa edged Fernando Alonso to capture the pole for Sunday's Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix Formula One race. The No.5 Ferrari driver circled the 3.444-mile Sepang Circuit road circuit in one minute, 35.043 seconds.

The pole victory was Massa's first of the season and third of his F1 career.

Starting on the front row with Massa will be the two-time World Champion who posted a second-best time of 1:35.310.

In row two will be Australia GP winner Kimi Raikkonen (1:35.479) and Lewis Hamilton (1:36.045).

"Without a doubt, this (Malaysia) is the toughest race of the season - not just physically, but mentally too," said 2006 Malaysian Grand Prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella. "The high temperatures and humidity make things very tough for the drivers and the cars too. For me personally, though, there are very good memories from my win last year, and I am prepared for the race this time round."

Following a workmanlike performance by Ferrari's new driver Raikkonen in winning the season opener in Australia, most of the teams tested at Malaysia last week in preparations for the blazing conditions.

In addition, Raikkonen was worried about his engine making it all the way through the race.

"There is some concern," Raikkonen told the official Ferrari website. "We had a slight leakage of water during the last part of the race (in Australia) and the team told me to slow down. Obviously we hope that the engine will make it through the whole weekend."

In the first knockout qualifying session Rubens Barrichello was among the six who failed to move on along with Adrian Sutil, Christijan Albers, Alex Wurz, Anthony Davidson and American Scott Speed. Alonso was quickest in the session.

The second session surprise was Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen in the Renaults failing to qualify for the final knockout competition. Once again, Alonso was the fastest car on the track.

On the final qualifying lap the pole position changed hands three times. Alonso had the position, but Raikkonen beat his time. Alonso was just behind Raikkonen on the track and he retook the top spot just before Massa collected the pole with his winning lap.

The race is set to drop the green flag at 3 a.m. (et).

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