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Formula 1 News - October, 2008
Team-by-team summary: Saturday, Japan

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Felipe Massa seemed in the hunt for pole position until the decisive Q3 segment, when Lewis Hamilton snatched top spot and the Brazilian qualified just fifth. "I'd go so far as to say that it was possibly the best lap of Lewis' career so far," said team boss Ron Dennis. Heikki Kovalainen is third.



Massa has been on Hamilton's pace all weekend, so he is disappointed to be fifth on the grid. "I never had the right amount of grip in Q3," he lamented. Conversely, Kimi Raikkonen was not a contender at Fuji until the fuel-affected Q3, raising suspicions Ferrari is playing tactics for the race. "My aim is to help the team to win both championships," said the Finn.



Like Kovalainen and Massa, Fernando Alonso did a 1.18.8 in Q3, and is fourth. Nelson Piquet was 4 tenths slower in Q2, when he failed to be among the fastest ten.



He has a new contract for 2009, but Nick Heidfeld has struggled all weekend at Fuji, where he dropped out with the Q1 stragglers. Robert Kubica, however, was just 2 tenths quicker in that segment, but went on to qualify sixth. "We wanted to have enough sets of the softer tyre for the remainder of qualifying and for the race. This decision cost Nick a place in Q2," said technical boss Willy Rampf.



Timo Glock, fastest of all in Q1, has been a feature of proceedings at the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway, and he qualified eighth, albeit one place behind his teammate Jarno Trulli. "We are slightly disappointed by the positions, but it's really a matter of where people will stop tomorrow," said Pascal Vasselon.



Despite a deficit of five tenths, Sebastien Bourdais was happy to follow his teammate into Q3, on the type of circuit at which Sebastian Vettel usually excels. "I think the car has improved a bit after the team found a couple of things on the aero side which has helped," Bourdais said.



Neither RB4 made Q3, but Mark Webber was the most disappointed Red Bull driver, after failing to outqualify his retiring teammate David Coulthard for only the second time in 2008. "I didn't get it together and you pay the price," the Australian said.



Both Williams drivers scraped through Q1, but could qualify no higher than P14 and 15, with Kazuki Nakajima higher placed than Nico Rosberg. "He's been a little bit quicker than me and I'm pleased for him as he's in front of his home crowd," Rosberg said.



The Hondas were quicker only than back-row dwellers Force India, with Rubens Barrichello ahead of Jenson Button. "Hopefully the race will be better," said the latter.



The Force Indias are at the back of the grid, with Giancarlo Fisichella dead last and not on Adrian Sutil's pace. "We were just one second from pole, which was very good and competitive but still not enough," said Sutil.

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