Massa takes Turkey pole

Brazilian chasing Istanbul hat-trick

Massa: on pole

Ferrari's Felipe Massa has taken pole position for Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul.

McLaren Mercedes driver Heikki Kovalainen qualified second ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton with World Champion Kimi Raikkonen fourth on the grid.

BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica starts fifth ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber, with Renault's Fernando Alonso seventh.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli qualified eighth, ahead of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld, with Red Bull's David Coulthard rounding out the top 10.

Massa has made the Istanbul circuit his own thanks to victories in the last two Turkish GPs and the Brazilian delivered when it mattered on Saturday.

His first flying lap of the top 10 qualifying shootout, timed at one minute 27.896 seconds was six tenths quicker than team-mate Raikkonen.


Hamilton was initially only fifth quickest after a mistake through Turn 8 on his own first flying lap, his McLaren oversteering wildly through the long 150mph left-hander.

Feeling more comfortable on the harder of the two Bridgestone tyre compounds, Hamilton then bolted on another set and recorded a 1:27.923s, placing him second behind Massa.

Team-mate Kovalainen then went quickest overall with a 1:27.808s, but Massa then set his pole lap - a 1:27.617s.

With Kubica, who went second quickest in the second session, then crossing the line, only Raikkonen remained of the front runners out on track.

However, the Finn, who leads Hamilton by nine points in the Drivers' Championship, could only respond with a 1:27.936s.

The absence of the Super Aguri team increased the likelihood that a car, or cars, from one of the bigger teams would be eliminated in the first qualifying session.

And so it proved, with both Renault's Nelson Piquet and Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima not making the cut.

They joined Toro Rosso's Sebastien Bourdais and the Force Indias of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil.

At the sharp end, Hamilton and Kovalainen were first and second quickest for most the opening session before Ferrari felt the need to send Massa out once again and he in turn set a 1:25.994s best.

Raikkonen responded by going quickest in the second session, his 1:26.050s bettering Kubica by less than a tenth, with Massa and Kovalainen third and fourth quickest - Hamilton's best only being good enough for sixth.

Coulthard, who has suffered a string of poor qualifying sessions in recent races, went seventh quickest in session two - two places behind team-mate Webber.

Nico Rosberg, Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Timo Glock were the drivers unable to progress from session two to the top 10 shootout.

Turkish Grand Prix, qualifying:
1. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1 min 27.617 secs
2. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) McLaren 1:27.808
3. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1:27.923
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:27.936
5. Robert Kubica (Poland) BMW Sauber 1:28.390
6. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1:28.417
7. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault 1:28.422
8. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota 1:28.836
9. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) BMW Sauber 1:28.882
10. David Coulthard (Britain) RedBull - Renault 1:29.959
11. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Williams - Toyota 1:27.012
12. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Honda 1:27.219
13. Jenson Button (Britain) Honda 1:27.298
14. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:27.412
15. Timo Glock (Germany) Toyota 1:27.806
16. Kazuki Nakajima (Japan) Williams - Toyota 1:27.547
17. Nelson Piquet (Brazil) Renault 1:27.568
18. Sebastien Bourdais (France) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:27.621
19. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Force India - Ferrari 1:27.807
20. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Ferrari 1:28.325