Massa on pole, Lewis fourth
Massa: thrilled his fans
Felipe Massa will start Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix from pole position after Lewis Hamilton qualified a surprisingly lowly fourth on the grid.
Hamilton finished half a second down on his world title rival at the end of qualifying at Interlagos.
On home soil, Massa thrilled his army of fans by clinching pole for the third successive year, with Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Massa's Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen also ahead of Hamilton.
Massa's hat-trick of pole positions put him in the record books as the only driver to achieve that feat at Interlagos, even including Brazilian legend Aryton Senna.
Massa has a seven-point gap to overhaul in Sunday's Grand Prix, with Hamilton needing to just finish in fifth position or better to become world champion.
The 23-year-old Hamilton does have McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen behind him in fifth place and ahead of Renault's Fernando Alonso.
Sebastian Vettel will start in seventh on the grid for Toro Rosso, while Nick Heidfeld is in eighth in his BMW Sauber ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Sebastien Bourdais and Toyota's Timo Glock.
Massa will have his home crowd passionately supporting him on Sunday, while Hamilton was jeered by the Brazilian fans throughout his qualifying session.
"It's great for us to come here and see so many people who love what we are doing," said Massa.
"It's difficult to describe in a single word my feeling, but also in racing for a fantastic team which is very emotional for me and who are working hard.
"We proved our car is very competitive in practice and we showed that again in the qualifying. I will now try to do my best to win the race, which is the most important thing."
Another home driver, Nelson Piquet, could only finish 11th in front of his own fans, with the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and David Coulthard either side of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica.
Coulthard has now qualified for a Grand Prix for the final time as he will end his career on Sunday after 15 seasons and 246 races.
Jenson Button was again disappointing down in 17th, as his session ended with his Honda parked at the Arquibancadas turn due to a mechanical issue.
Grid positions for Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix
1 Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari 1min 12.368secs
2 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:12.737
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:12.825
4 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) McLaren 1:12.830
5 Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren 1:12.917
6 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1:12.967
7 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:13.082
8 Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:13.297
9 Sebastien Bourdais (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:14.105
10 Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota 1:14.230
11 Nelson Piquet Jr. (Bra) Renault 1:12.137
12 Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:12.289
13 Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:12.300
14 David Coulthard (Gbr) Red Bull 1:12.717
15 Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Honda 1:13.139
16 Kazuki Nakajima (Jpn) Williams 1:12.800
17 Jenson Button (Gbr) Honda 1:12.810
18 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams 1:13.002
19 Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Force India 1:13.426
20 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:13.508