Alonso fifth as Ferrari lock front row!

Sat, 7 October 2006, 01:46

Felipe Massa beat his teammate Michael Schumacher to pole position at Suzuka, as Bridgestone runners dominated qualifying at the Japanese circuit on Saturday.

The red pair will be joined at the front of the grid on Sunday by Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli, as championship challenger Fernando Alonso struggled to go quicker than fifth best.

Pole sitter Massa also played a team role in qualifying, by holding up Alonso in the decisive third session and allowing Schumacher to enjoy clean air.

”I think we will also be very competitive in the race,” Massa enthused.

Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) is next, meaning that the teammates’ two-by-two continued all the way down to the fourth row, with Honda runners Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello completing the Noah’s Ark-style top eight.

McLaren, in contrast, endured a difficult day, with Kimi Raikkonen and Pedro de la Rosa both failing to appear in the final ten.

Dead last Sakon Yamamoto had the only notable incident in the sunny and warm conditions, after he coasted to a halt in the first of the three parts.

Japan GP, qualification
1. F. Massa Ferrari 1:29.599
2. M. Schumacher Ferrari 1:29.711
3. R. Schumacher Toyota 1:29.989
4. J. Trulli Toyota 1:30.039
5. F. Alonso Renault 1:30.371
6. G. Fisichella Renault 1:30.599
7. J. Button Honda 1:30.992
8. R. Barrichello Honda 1:31.478
9. N. Heidfeld BMW 1:31.514
10. N. Rosberg Williams 1:31.856
11. K. Räikkönen McLaren 1:30.827
12. R. Kubica BMW 1:31.094
13. P. de la Rosa McLaren 1:31.254
14. M. Webber Williams 1:31.276
15. V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:31.943
16. C. Albers Spyker MF1 1:33.750
17. D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:32.252
18. R. Doornbos Red Bull 1:32.402
19. S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:32.867
20. T. Sato Super Aguri 1:33.555
21. T. Monteiro Spyker MF1 1:33.709
22. S. Yamamoto Super Aguri no time


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