Malaysian Grand Prix – Saturday Qualifying – Ferrari lockout Row 1

The second race of the 2008 F1 season takes place at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia and this one is going to be the first wet race of the season. It is cloudy enough on Saturday and rains are expected for the race on Sunday. Qualifying was a mixed bag of sorts with the three sessions seeing different P1 holders. In the session that mattered though – Q3 – Ferrari’s Felipe Massa put in a quick time and grabbed pole position…by 4/10ths of a second ahead of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen. So its an all-Ferrari front row at Sepang with the McLarens occupying the second row – Kovalainen out-qualifying Hamilton. Jarno Trulli was 5th with Robert Kubica and Heidfeld in 6th and 7th. Mark Webber was 8th fastest ahead of Fernando Alonso and Timo Glock.

Q1 threw up a few surprises as Kimi set the pace at the start only to see his teammate Felipe Massa go faster. Lewis Hamilton was quicker still but a small twitch near the end lost him few thousandths of a second and went second fastest at that time. Heikki Kovalainen then banged in an even quicker lap and took P1 ahead of Massa. But the surprise was yet to come…..Jarno Trulli of Toyota turned his car round the quickest and was P1 for the first qualifying session ahead of Kovalainen, Massa, Hamilton & Kimi behind him. Force India had a touch of bad luck as Fisichella was bumped out at the last possible moment by the Honda of Rubens Barrichello. Others who lost out in Q1 were Nakajima, Bourdais, Sutil, Sato & Davidson.

Q2 was pretty much laidback enough with no real surprises. The big four did their runs early in the session and Kimi Raikkonen was the early pace-setter as he lapped around in the 1 Min 34s bracket to secure P1 for this session. BMW’s Heidfeld put in a quick lap to go 2nd fastest but was pipped later by Massa, thus making a Ferrari 1-2 in the second session. Hamilton was 3rd fastest with teammate Kovalainen in 5th place. Toyota were quick again with first session pole-sitter Jarno Trulli going sixth fastest and teammate Timo Glock seventh. Losing out were both the Hondas of Button and Barrichello, the Red Bull of Coulthard, the Renault of Nelson Piquet, the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel and the Williams of Nico Rosberg.

Q3 started in a frenetic fashion with the clouds looming overhead and the two McLarens leading the two Ferraris onto the track. McLaren though opted to run the harder compound of tyre whilst Ferrari went in with the softer compound. And it were the Ferraris that set the early pace. Heidfeld had a brief off-track moment and Fernando Alonso too nearly copied it but in the end came out unharmed. The McLarens then changed onto the softer compounds but Hamilton was slightly baulked by the Toyota of Timo Glock. Ferrari then went 1-2 with Massa leading Raikkonen with Kovalainen and Hamilton in 3rd and 4th.

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