The qualification results are a huge boost for Schumacher who currently leads the Formula One Drivers Championship, equal on points with Renault's Fernando Alonso.

 

"That's a very good position for us, considering the race and the championship," said seven-time world champion Schumacher.

 

"I'm pretty happy where I am and he did a great job," he added, referring to his Massa's pole position.

 

"We are not fighting that much against each other, we are working together and therefore I'm happy it's him."

 

Alonso, the current world champion, could only manage to qualify fifth fastest, with Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella alongside him on the grid in sixth position after being fastest in practice.

 

"This result is okay, I think," said Alonso, looking for positives after the day's results.

 

"Of course the position is not ideal for the championship fight, but we have seen big turnarounds already this season. There is nothing to say it cannot happen again tomorrow."

 

Felipe Massa on his way to pole
position at Suzuka, Japan

Schumacher and Alonso are both tied on 116 points in the drivers championship race, however the German has had one more race win this season, leading the Spaniard 7-6.

 

Schumacher can secure a world record eighth championship title if he wins the race at Suzuka and Alonso fails to score.

 

"I love to race here, it is a fantastic track," said Schumacher.

 

"And in these cars, it is so much fun, we have so much grip that the car feels like the car is flying through the 'esses' and I must say I really enjoy it."

 

The second row of the grid is occupied by the two Toyotas of Ralf Schumacher and Italian Jarno Trulli for Sunday's Grand Prix.