2008 Turkish Grand Prix qualifying: Hat-trick of poles for Felipe Massa

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Heikki Kovalainen, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Istanbul, 2008, qualifying, 470150

Felipe Massa’s love affair with the Istanbul Park circuit goes on. He took his third pole position in a row at the circuit where he scored his first in 2006. It leaves him perfectly poised to turn the trick again in the race tomorrow.

Joining him on the front row is McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen. He and Lewis Hamilton, third, held championship leader Kimi Raikkonen back for fourth.

With Super Aguri missing from the grid and only 20 cars participating, the first two stages of qualifying would see five cars eliminated instead of six, with ten progressing to Q3 as usual.

Part one

Giancarlo Fisichella led the charge at the start of the first part of qualifying, knowing that wherever he qualified he would lose three places on the grid following his penalty for going through a red light in qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton moved to the top of the times early on with a 1’26.192 and then stayed in the pits. It took the Ferraris several attempt to beat it, Felipe Massa eventually putting in a 1’25.994.

Also lapping quickly late in the session were the Toyotas with Jarno Trulli and Timp Glock rising to fourth and fifth in the dying moments.

The battle at the other end of the times sheets was even more fierce. Sebastian Vettel defied expectations to get into Q2, leaving his team mate Sebastien Bourdais and, not surprisingly, both Force India cars behind.

Kazuki Nakajima failed to beat Vettel by a tenth of a second but the bigger surprise was Nelson Piquet behind him in 17th, knocked out in the first session just as he was in Melbourne.

Bottom five drivers’ times for part one

16. Kazuki Nakajima 1’27.547
17. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1’27.588
18. Sebastien Bourdais 1’27.621
19. Giancarlo Fisichella 1’27.807
20. Adrian Sutil 1’28.325

Part two

Nico Rosberg, Williams, Istanbul, 2008, qualifying, 470313

Ferrari returned to the fore in the second part of qualifying with Kimi Raikkonen topping the times sheets ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Late in the session Robert Kubica’s BMW took over third.

Further back a poor lap from Timo Glock saw him 15th, a full second slower than team mate Jarno Trulli, and knocked out of qualifying. Vettel slotted in 14th behind the two Hondas.

The last driver knocked out was Nico Rosberg in 11th, the Williams now clearly lagging behind the Renaults, Red Bulls and Toyotas on raw pace.

Bottom five drivers’ times for part two

11. Nico Roberg 1’27.012
12. Rubens Barrichello 1’27.219
13. Jenson Button 1’27.298
14. Sebastian Vettel 1’27.412
15. Timo Glock 1’27.806

Part three

David Coulthard, Red Bull-Renault, Istanbul, qualifying, 2008, 470313

With BMW not showing the pace of previous races, and Renault not going as light on fuel as they did in Spain, the battle for the front two rows was entirely between Ferrari and McLaren.

A third straight pole position at the Istanbul circuit for Felipe Massa rarely seemed in any doubt. He was comfortably quicker than anyone else – especially Lewis Hamilton, who lost a second in sector two on his first attempt at a flying lap.

Hamilton elected not to run a lap on the softer option tyres, feeling they were running low on grip late in the lap. He did his final effort on scrubbed hard tyres and it was enough to lift him into third place – albeit behind his team mate Heikki Kovalainen, who did use the softer tyres.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, three tenths of a section behind his team mate and just 0.007 off Hamilton.

Top ten drivers’ times for part three

1. Felipe Massa 1’27.617
2. Heikki Kovalainen 1’27.806
3. Lewis Hamilton 1’27.923
4. Kimi Raikkonen 1’27.936
5. Robert Kubica 1’28.390
6. Mark Webber 1’28.417
7. Fernando Alonso 1’28.422
8. Jarno Trulli 1’28.836
9. Nick Heidfeld 1’28.882
10. David Coulthard 1’29.959

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “2008 Turkish Grand Prix qualifying: Hat-trick of poles for Felipe Massa”

  1. I think Alonso’s incident was with Felipe, not with Kimi. Anyways it looked like if wasn’t in a hot lap.

  2. Looking ahead tomorrow:
    I see Hamilton pouncing on the front row with prodigious gusto. He might not necessarily get Massa but Heiki’s 2nd might be 3rd before turn 2. Kimi’s dodgy starting means he might have to concentrate on fending off the ever hungry Kubica and will therefore not be attacking right off but will definitely have gathered enough speed to roar in the early corners. Kubica as usual will be pressing hard and keeping his sights on the front runners. If Alonso doesn’t get docked, he will be hunting down Mark Webber in the early corners. Any one?

  3. Frecon, it’s not clear whether Alonso’s incident was with Massa or Kimi. Telecinco guys (in Spain) don’t seem to have been sure either. If it was Kimi, Fernando might pay but the stewards might go lighter on him if it was found to be Massa since it doesn’t seem to have hindered his P1. But then again, we really never know what the stewards might have up their sleave. They are like the ever perfectionist referee. Any sharp eyed viewers out there or any one who might have had sharp eyed commentators?

  4. Kanyima. I have watched the replay just 3 minutes ago and it was Felipe (Ferrari with yellow sticker). 100% sure not Kimi.

  5. Yep from looking at this video it seems it was Massa and the FOM graphic said Raikkonen instead. As Massa clearly wasn’t delayed I don’t think Alonso’s in any danger. I’ve amened the qualifying report accordingly. Thanks for the help.

  6. Although from seeing this video I’m now wondering if both Ferraris passed Alonso in the same place?

  7. In the news they only talked about the Massa’s incident, and all the views was with the Massa’s car. I don’t know if it was two incidents, but i think is pretty unlikely.

    Anyway it’s no clear for me that Alonso damaged the lap of Massa (eventually he did pole), and in case the FOM subtitle was correct, it doesn’t look like to me, he damaged Kimi’s lap. I don’t think FIA is going to investigate it if Ferrari don’t make an official complaint. And Ferrari has nothing to win moving Alonso backwards in the grid.

  8. Just to be clear, the stewards can impose a penalty regardless of whether Ferrari appeal or not.

  9. They can, but there was several times when they only did it after an official complaint of a team.

    Massa was P1, and move backwards Alonso is not going to move upwards Kimi. Fernando is not a rival for championship or the race, so i think is pretty unlikely Ferrari appeal anything.

    Furthermore, after Q3 Alonso and Massa were talking very friendly into the parc fermé.

  10. Frecon, rules are rules and as long as the stewards deem it necessary to investigate, they can. As Keith pointed out to you, it’s their job, so it doesn’t matter whether a team appeals or not. They certainly have their reasons for doing so, safety inclusive as well as sending a warning to the rest to prevent it happening again. The fact that Massa and Fernando “were talking very friendly” doesn’t stop Ferrari from appealing if they think their guy(s) were delayed and I certainly don’t think that they can decide to let it lie if they have reasons to appeal just because Fernando is not a title contender. This is a competition, bro.

  11. I think Massa and Kimi passed Alonso. I’m not sure that either of them were particularly impeded in a way that was possible to avoid.

    Though clearly Ferrari are talking impeding others very seriously if Kimi was willing to leap off the track like that.

  12. About investigations: FIA investigations are very random. Stewards can, and they should, investigate it, but as many others times, depending who, or when in the season, nothing is gonna happen.

    About the incident: I think there is nothing to investigate. Although if Alonso ruined Felipe’s hot lap in Monza being 100 metres in front of them, i guess with the same criteria, today Massa could be 1 sec faster ;)

  13. it was massa

  14. frecon: I agree there really wasn’t anything today that warrants a ruling. And of course that judgement from Monza was one of the most ridiculous I’ve ever seen in my life.

  15. The stewards stopped accepting protests about blocking after the Monza 2006 Alonso/Massa thing. So if there is an investigation (and I doubt it if nothing’s been said officially at this point) then it will be on the stewards’ own initiative

  16. Ahhh… So it was Massa. I actually think that’s good news for Kimi’s chances, as it means there’s now a bigger chance he’s running on a heavier strategy.

    If he’s fourth at the end of Lap 1, he’ll definitely be on the podium and we may still see a Ferrari 1-2 by the end of the race, albeit one that’s led by Massa.

  17. “Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, three tenths of a section behind his team mate and just 0.007 off Hamilton.”

    of a section? Maybe you mean of a second?

    Also, looking at the times, the gap between Kimi and Hammy is 0.013, not 0.007.

  18. Istanbul is one of the circuits which penalize strongly high loads of fuel. Each lap cars are 0.1 sec faster.

    Without knowing strategys is hard to say which car was better, but a different strategy could explain differences between Kimi and Felipe

  19. Incidentally, ITV mentioned that the fuel hose was connected to Hamilton’s car for 8-9 seconds. I’m not sure if this is much help to the strategy calculations…

  20. Alianora, La Canta, having fuelled and refuelled cars, surely the fuel pump incident with Lewis shouldn’t be a big issue to get round. It would certainly have been a blip that would be provided for in the strategy.

  21. Well done to Felippe, he really is out on his own with this track….seems to similar to Brazil.

    For tomorrow, would like to see the real Ferrari pace, and Heikki doing well…

  22. Kanyima, I think he meant it was an indication of how much fuel Hamilton was carrying.

  23. My bad! The sangria is getting to my head. Sorry Alianora. Thanks Keith.

  24. Lady Snowcat
    10th May 2008, 21:05

    Kimi pretty cool in his comments after qualy actually mentioning fuel and strategy and sounding too worried…

    Last time he was lighter, at Bahrain, he didn’t mention fuel so I am hopeful… and his was the biggest change from Q2 to Q3…

    Kimi’s starts have been pretty good and he’s certainly got past Lewis a few times… although he’s on the dirty side of the track…

  25. May I be the first to predict Hamilton’s first win from behind? I know I sound like a fruit cake but the chances are high it might happen. This is what I think: Massa, although comfy at the moment can be unpredictable under pressure. It’s Heiki’s first front row so he might be lax or nervous to control his position out of the blocks and given Hamilton’s overtaking manouvres at the first corner, it is more likely than ever. Kimi will of course be keeping a hawkish eye on what’s happening and he may be the biggest threat to a an overambitious front pack. I’m only thinking Kubica might keep him watching his mirrors but you just never know what Kimi is going to do.

  26. If Kimi gets blocked by the McLarens, and Felipe manages to keep ahead out of the first corner, I think he’ll have an easy ride… otherwise, there will be some tension on the pit stops, but I still believe Massa will win his third Turkish Grand Prix, and I’ll be proud to say, “Massa, the Sultan!”

    Lets wait and se…

  27. Kanyima: I would disagree about Massa… I must agree that he is inconsistent, but I think he gives his best when he’s under pressure, and tends to make more mistakes when his impatient or unattentive…

    Lets not forget he delivered two commanding wins in Bahrain, 2007 and 2008, after bad season starts…

  28. Kanyima, sorry for being too obtuse in my comment. Thanks for clearing up the resulting misunderstanding, Keith.

  29. Great qualifying performance by Vettel. Let’s hope he can at least finish this race.

Comments are closed.