Ferrari will once again lead from the front after Felipe Massa took pole position in qualifying for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Brazilian was fastest in Malaysia qualifying last week and will again start at the front of the grid after clocking a time of 1:32.652s on the Sakhir circuit.

But Lewis Hamilton put himself in the ideal position to capture his first ever grand prix win as he secured a place at the front of the grid for the first time this season.

The McLaren driver, who will make history if he secures a third successive podium finish in tomorrow’s race, clocked a time of 1:32.935s to take second place.

Felipe’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who dominated yesterday’s practice session, will start in third place while Fernando Alonso ensured McLaren and Ferrari continue to dominate the top-four as he finished fourth.

It would seem to be apparent that both drivers are on heavier fuel loads than their younger team-mates.

 Full Qualifying Report

Qualifying 1

At Sakhir, the temperature was not that far off Malaysia – 34C ambient with the track at 45C and hazy sunshine.

In morning practice Lewis Hamilton had been fastest from Kimi Raikkonen, but the sensation had been Anthony Davidson who was fifth fastest in his Super Aguri.

At 1400hrs local time Qualifying began with Alex Wurz setting an early P1 time with a 1:34.985s, which was reduced in rapid succession by Nico Rosberg 1:34.470s. Jarno Trulli 1:34.462s, Vitantonio Liuzzi 1:34.024s and then Anthony Davidson set the timing screens to purple, (showing fastest sector times), with a 1:33.403s.

The McLarens decided they had the pace to escape the first session using the harder Bridgestones, as did Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton took provisional P1 with 1:32.580s even though he had a serious lock-up into Turn 1. So it was no surprise when Felipe Massa bettered it with a 1:32.443s.

A pattern is developing this season with the BMWs going out last of all, and so it was at Sakhir, with Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld last to set competitive times.

With three minutes left the bottom half looked like this;

13. Webber

14. Speed

15. Trulli

16. Rosberg

17. Sato

18. Schumacher

19. Wurz

20. Coulthard

21. Albers

22. Sutil

David Coulthard went out to improve his time only to cruise back to the pits with a gearbox problem, guaranteeing him a position in the last six.

Nico Rosberg jumped up to P8 and clear, Alex Wurz went quicker, Sato improved his time to P14 but there were still many drivers left to improve. Ralf Schumacher took his Toyota to P.12 while team-mate Jarno Trulli jumped to P6.

After the chequered flag had fallen Fisichella and Kovalainen found themselves in 15th and 16th places but both drivers went quicker. As the ‘sand’ settled, the timesheets read;

14. Barrichello

15. Schumacher

16. Button

17. Sato

18. Liuzzi

19. Speed

20. Sutil

21. Coulthard

22. Albers

The surprises, Anthony Davidson qualifying 7th, 0.7 quicker than team-mate Takuma Sato, Adrian Sutil out pacing team-mate Christijan Albers and the fact that the sluggish Hondas had both made it through to round 2.

 Qualifying 2

Ralf Schumacher was out on track first and took provisional P1 with a 1:33.294s, team-mate Jarno Trulli showed his advantage with a 1:32.853s. Nick Heidfeld reduced the P1 time with a 1:32.233s.

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the weekend so far, with a 1:31.732s. Even Double World Champion and team-mate Fernando Alonso couldn’t better Lewis’s astounding pace, settling for a 1:32.214s.

After his disappointment in Malaysia, Felipe Massa seemed to be driving with a point to prove, and he did just this smashing Hamilton’s time with a 1:31.359s. Kimi Raikkonen couldn’t match either his team-mate or Lewis so settled for P3.

With three minutes to go, the ‘need to improve’ line-up were;

7. Webber

8. Trulli

9. Rosberg

10. Davidson

11. Fisichella

12. Schumacher

13. Kovalainen

14. Wurz

15. Barrichello

16. Button

BMW, McLaren, Ferrari had the six positions covered comfortably so had no need to go out again, so they didn’t.

As the clock ticked down the bottom ten all went out in line for their final attempts.

Wurz went P9 (but with a lot of cars still to run). Rosberg improved to P8. Davidson couldn’t improve his time and Kovalainen could only get P.10. Giancarlo Fisichella improved to take P.10 while Ralf had slumped to P14 by this time and his final lap didn’t improve anything.

So at the end of the second phase the ousted six were;

11. Wurz

12. Kovalainen

13. Davidson

14. Schumacher

15. Barrichello

16. Button

Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello failed to make a great improvement, Anthony Davidson having showed great pace earlier will have been disappointed to qualify in P.13. Kovalainen had his fourth fuel pump failure of the season and clearly found it hard to settle into the T-car. The Renault team had to transfer his race engine across to it at the last minute.

 Qualifying 3

Lewis Hamilton seemed to be queuing for an age at the end of the pit lane before the green light released the cars onto the track. Both BMWs and Ferraris followed him out. Strangely Fernando Alonso left it very late to start the fuel-burning phase.

There was a certain amount of worry when Lewis Hamilton’s engine seemed to be puffing out blue smoke as he lifted off in the braking area for Turn 1. Lewis did, however, set a very hot early lap, a 1:34.206s – compared to Jarno Trulli, who clocked a 1:37.67s.

Nick Heidfeld set the first proper flying lap (on hard tyres) with a 1:34.320s but it was only good enough for P2.

Times tumbled down after the field pitted for their hot laps, and it was Felipe Massa who took provisional pole with a 1:33.090s, Lewis Hamilton came up short in P2 with a 1:33.118s. However Kimi Raikkonen, P3, and Fernando Alonso, P4, were half a second shy of their team-mates, leading to the definite view that they both had more fuel.

Kubica was 5th, Heidfeld 6th, Rosberg 7th, Webber 8th, Fisichella 9th and Trulli 10th.

Now it was time for the final runs and Felipe Massa yet again pulled out three purple (fastest) sectors to lower provisional pole time to 1:32.658s with an extremely impressive lap. Lewis Hamilton tried but couldn’t match him, and although he went slightly faster than he had, his 1:32.935s was not good enough for pole.

But as with the rest of the session their respective team-mates couldn’t challenge and so Kimi Raikkonen took P3 with Fernando Alonso in P4. Nick Heidfeld jumped his BMW team-mate for the third successive race to take P5 from Robert Kubica in P6.

Massa will be pleased to have survived the pressure of having the faster Ferrari and delivered the pole that the team expected of him – his fifth and Bridgestone’s 100th.

Hamilton gained another first – his first front-row start. How good a start he gets tomorrow will be down to the dirt on his side of the grid, but as he has show in both Australia and Malaysia, he will try to find a way past should he find Felipe out front before they get to Turn 1.

But as it seems to appear that both of there team-mates have more than a couple of laps of extra fuel on board, then the big battle will begin when the cars emerge after the first round of pit stops.

Final Qualifying Times










Felipe Massa







Lewis Hamilton







Kimi Raikkonen







Fernando Alonso







Nick Heidfeld







Robert Kubica







Giancarlo Fisichella



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