/ 27 September 2008

Massa edges Hamilton to take Singapore pole

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa stormed to pole position for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday, topping the times during qualifying ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

It was a crucial drive by the Brazilian with the front row of the grid likely to be decisive on the bumpy Marina Bay street circuit where overtaking will be possible, but difficult.

His lap of 1:44,801 was 0,664 of a second ahead of the British world championship leader, who is one point in front of his rival in the title race with four grands prix left.

Defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen, desperate for a win here to keep alive his slim hopes of retaining his title, was third fastest for Ferrari and BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica was fourth in the Toro Rosso.

Heikki Kovalainen, in the second McLaren, was fifth ahead of Nick Heidfeld for BMW Sauber.

New kid on the block Sebastian Vettel, winner in Italy earlier this month, was seventh in his Toro Rosso with Timo Glock eighth, Nico Rosberg ninth and Kazuki Nakajima tenth.

Forecasters had said there was a 50% chance of rain over the weekend, but it held off on Saturday, allowing the cars to be pushed as hard as possible in hot and humid conditions under the powerful spotlights illuminating the track. — AFP