In a nail-biting climax to the qualifying session in Malaysia, it is Felipe Massa who regained control of the circuit to beat his rivals to the pole position slot for tomorrows race. After seemingly going about his business without drawing any attention, the young Brazilian came alive in the final shoot-out to pip his team mate and both McLaren’s to the top spot. Reigning champion Fernando Alonso occupies the second front-row position, with Lewis Hamilton in third and Kimi Raikkonen in fourth.
Qualifying one caused the usual casulties, but perhaps surprisingly it also claimed Anthony Davidson. While Davidson’s team mate Takuma Sato got through to the second phase, Anthony was left reeling about traffic issues and ended up slotting his Super Aguri into 18th place. The other driver facing problems was Rubens Barrichello, who failed to make the grade in his Honda. Both Honda’s have struggled all weekend, and really the surprise is that Jenson Button made it as far as the second session. To say the team look dejected at their prospects is an understatement.
Part two of qualifying saw Button and and Coulthard drop out, as did both Renaults, with Heikki Kovalainen just getting ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella. On-board shots of Fisichella’s car showed how little confidence the Italian had in his under-performing Renault, and the team are not looking good for the near future.
The final session of qualifying at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit saw the cars pop in quick laps relatively early, with the threat of rain looming large over the track. Initially, it was Fernando Alonso who looked to be in control, setting very quick laps even on his fuel-burning phase. With Lewis Hamilton right on the Spaniards tail, one couldn’t be blamed for thinking the Woking squad would have had it all sewn up. But the Ferrari’s piled on the pressure, and the first offensive came from Kimi Raikkonen. In the final quick laps, we saw a change in pole on more than one occasion, with Massa taking the final position, 0.3s ahead of Alonso.
1. Massa – Ferrari – 1m35.043s
2. Alonso – McLaren – 1m35.310s
3. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1m35.479s
4. Hamilton – McLaren – 1m36.045s
5. Heidfeld – BMW – 1m36.543s
6. Rosberg – Williams – 1m36.829s
7. Kubica – BMW – 1m36.896s
8. Trulli – Toyota – 1m36.902s
9. Schumacher – Toyota – 1m37.078s
10. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m37.345s
11. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m35.630s
12. Fisichella – Renault – 1m35.706s
13. Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m35.766s
14. Sato – Super Aguri – 1m35.945s
15. Button – Honda – 1m36.088s
16. Liuzzi – Toro Rosso – 1m36.145s
17. Speed – Toro Rosso – 1m36.578s
18. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1m36.816s
19. Barrichello – Honda – 1m36.827s
20. Wurz – Williams – 1m37.326s
21. Albers – Spyker – 1m38.279s
22. Sutil – Spyker – 1m38.415s