A worthy achievement of course, but nothing really very unusual. However, it is a different story for Felipe Massa as the young Brazilian recorded his first ever pole at his 67th attempt. Afterwards, an emotional Felipe thanked the team, but also his father, who supported his career in its early days.
While there are still 309.356 kilometres of racing to go before tomorrow afternoon’s chequered flag, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro has put itself in the best possible shape at this critical point in the season, as it is an all-red front row, with Michael Schumacher lining up alongside his team-mate. However, the battle in both championships could not be closer as the red at the front is matched by an all-blue second row for Renault with Fernando Alonso in third ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella. There are a total of three Germans in the top six on the grid, as apart from Michael, his brother Ralf is fifth for Toyota ahead of the BMW-Sauber of Nick Heidfeld.
Massa put in a faultless performance from start to finish, while Schumacher uncharacteristically made a couple of driving errors. However, with the final Q3 section of the session being run on a heavier fuel lad, it was Michael who had the honour of setting the actual quickest time of the afternoon during the Q2 part of proceedings.
It was the fifth pole position of the season for Scuderia Ferrari, after those in Sakhir, Imola, Indianapolis and Magny-Cours; the first for Felipe Massa who will thus start a grand prix from the very top of the grid for the first time in his career. For the fourth time this season two Ferraris will start from the front row. This is Ferrari’s 184th pole, the first at this track.
Here’s what Massa said:
“A fantastic day for me and to get my first F1 pole is an emotional moment. I can look back and think how much I have had to fight to achieve this. I am emotional and happy and hope to get many more poles in my career. I want to thank the team for having given me a fantastic car, but thank you also to my father: without him I would probably not be here in Formula 1. Tomorrow I will drive my race thinking about mine and the team’s objectives in both championships. We know we have a great package while the Bridgestone tyres are consistent and perform well over a long run.”