Massa takes pole at European GP

The Ferrari driver put memories of his Hungarian GP exit behind him to take the pole in Valencia.

updated: August 30, 2008 08:50 IST
  • Total Shares

Valencia (Spain):

Brazilian Felipe Massa was all smiles again on Saturday after erasing bad memories of his Hungarian exit three weeks ago by taking pole position for Sunday's European Grand Prix.

The 27-year-old Ferrari driver just managed to outpace championship leading Briton Lewis Hamilton, 23, and clock the fastest time for the inaugural pole at the new 5.42-kms street circuit around the Mediterranean port.

"It is a good feeling, very nice, to be able to sit here now," said Massa. "It helps me forget the last race when I thought I had a victory in my pocket with three laps to go."

In Budapest, Massa's Ferrari engine blew up and forced him to retire, handing a maiden victory to Hamilton's McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Finn Heikki Kovalainen.

That result preserved Hamilton's lead in the title race - and he stressed that he now hoped to convert his front row grid position into another win.

Seeking his third win in four races, Hamilton said: "I am pretty happy to be on the front row and have a chance of winning this race. That is fine for me, and the team, who did a great job again today.

"I am feeling good. I like the track, I like the whole place and we know it is going to be tough, because Ferrari are very difficult to beat."

Third-placed Robert Kubica of Poland, in a BMW Sauber, said: "I am pretty happy as this is as good as I think we could have hoped for, but I found the track a bit slippery and we have to do some work to make sure we are right with our tyres."

Defending champion Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, finished fourth at the end of the qualifying session ahead of compatriot Kovalainen, in the second McLaren, and sixth placed German Sebastian Vettel of Toro Rosso.