Massa grabs pole
Felipe Massa grabs top spot for the Bahrain GP.
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2007 15:41 GMT

Felipe Massa: Pole dancing in Bahrain [GALLO/GETTY]

Felipe Massa took the pole position Saturday for the Bahrain Grand Prix, leading the field in qualifying for the fourth time in the last five Formula One races.
It was the fifth career pole, and second straight, for the Ferrari driver.
Massa ended the 2006 season with two pole positions, but only won the Brazilian GP.
He was timed at 1 minute, 32.652 seconds on the 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile) Bahrain International Circuit ahead of Sunday's 57-lap race.
"I think the car is competitive. Today, we showed a very quick car. Tomorrow, hopefully we can put things together," Massa said.

Lewis Hamilton of McLaren was second in 1:32.935, ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen at 1:33.131.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso was fourth in 1:33.192.

Hamilton, a 22-year-old British rookie and F1's first black driver, can
make F1 history this weekend.

No driver has started his F1 career with three consecutive finishes in the top three, but Hamilton finished third in Australia and second in Malaysia.

"It's only my third race in Formula One and to get a front-row (spot) is
an amazing thing," Hamilton said.

Hamilton had to deal with changing wind conditions that blew up sand on
his final qualifying lap.

"You need to pull out everything in that last lap,'' Hamilton said.

"It is quite tough to put the car on the limit and anticipate what is going to happen."

Raikkonen won the Australian GP after starting top of the grid, but Massa
finished fifth at the following Malaysian GP behind winner Alonso despite
having pole position.

"Hopefully it will be different," Massa said.

"For sure, last Sunday was not a very easy day for us. I was disappointed, starting in front and knowing the car was good.

"Our car was stronger than what we showed in the race, losing the
position at the start and some mistakes in the middle of the race. Hopefully this time we can show a better result."

Raikkonen, who led both practices on Friday, thinks the start will be

"I think a lot of things depends on where we come out of the first
corner," Raikkonen said.

Ferrari did well in February testing here and has new engines after two
races. But Hamilton thinks McLaren has closed the gap.

"Coming here we seem to be stronger than we were in the tests and we are closer to Ferrari," he said.

"Perhaps we are more comfortable with the circuit. For sure we will have a strong race and it will be interesting to see what happens."

Raikkonen, who finished third at Malaysia behind the two McLarens, said he had to preserve his engine in the last race and wasn't able to challenge Alonso.

After two races, Alonso leads the standings with 18 points, two ahead of
Raikkonen and four in front of Hamilton.

Alonso won the Bahrain GP last year in a stretch during which he won six
of the first nine races for Renault. He switched to McLaren at the end of the season, while Raikkonen moved from McLaren to Ferrari.

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.