BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
Sunday Grand Prix: 1230 BST
Coverage: Race LIVE on BBC Sport website & Radio 5 Live
Hamilton rescues third as old friend Kubica takes pole
Lewis Hamilton bounced back from his crash in Friday practice to qualify in third for Sunday's Bahrain GP as BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica claimed pole.
Hamilton, who had to use a spare chassis after damaging his McLaren in a heavy crash, set a time of one minute, 33.292 seconds for provisional pole.
But Kubica then set a stunning lap of 1:33.096 to claim a maiden pole ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth for Ferrari with McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen fifth.
The grid is set for an exciting start to Sunday's Grand Prix in Sakhir with the main protagonists spread across the front three rows.
After badly damaging his car in Friday's practice, Hamilton was working with a brand new chassis as teams are now no longer allowed to bring a spare car to race weekends.
The engineers worked overnight to get the car in race shape, and after a sluggish final practice, the Briton was back to form in qualifying.
The crash makes no difference - I just get back in the car and go faster
Hamilton put in a huge effort in the final session only to be overhauled by Kubica and Massa in the closing seconds.
Britain's championship leader will start in third alongside Kimi Raikkonen, who is just three points behind him in the drivers' standings.
"The Ferraris have outstanding pace," said Hamilton. "But I knew that I would still be able to challenge for the front row.
"It was a reasonable lap and I'll go back and study it; but I'm looking forward to the race. We have a good strategy and it will be quite interesting."
Hamilton shrugged off the effects of Friday's crash which saw him plough into the tyre wall at 111mph.
"The crash makes no difference," the 23-year-old said. "I just get back in the car and go faster.
"In fact, I went faster through that corner in qualifying than I did in qualifying so it's important to bounce back."
Massa had been the pacesetter in Bahrain, where he won last season, clocking the fastest times on Friday and looking good during qualifying.
But whilst Kubica was setting his provisional pole, Massa was labouring behind traffic on his final qualifying lap and had to settle for second.
"I did some incredible laps this weekend," said Massa, who is searching for his first point of 2008.
"But in the third qualifying session, I got stuck behind cars, and it's a shame. We still have a great car though and we can be very strong on Sunday."
Kubica, who finished second in Malaysia two weeks ago, came out of nowhere to clinch his first-ever pole.
The 23-year-old took pole by less than one-tenth of a second from Massa to emphasise BMW Sauber's emergence as a major contender.
"We have developed quite a lot and did some really good work in qualifying," said Kubica.
"The last three corners were very difficult but I didn't make any mistakes and if was enough for pole, so I'm very happy."
Jenson Button also had reason to celebrate in Sakhir as he qualified his Honda in a season's best ninth, just ahead of Renault's Fernando Alonso.
There was disappointment for David Coulthard, who failed to get beyond the first session, which was halted for a few minutes after Takuma Sato clipped his Super Aguri going into the final corner.
"It's going to be a difficult weekend for us," the Red Bull driver said. "We've had a lot of problems with oversteer."
Grid positions for the Bahrain Grand Prix:
1. Robert Kubica (Poland) BMW Sauber 1 min 33.096
2. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1:33.123
3. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1:33.292
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:33.418
5. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) McLaren 1:33.488
6. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) BMW Sauber 1:33.737
7. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota 1:33.994
8. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Williams - Toyota 1:34.015
9. Jenson Button (Britain) Honda 1:35.057
10. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault 1:35.115
11. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1:32.371
12. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Honda 1:32.508
13. Timo Glock (Germany) Toyota 1:32.528
14. Nelsinho Piquet (Brazil) Renault 1:32.790
15. Sebastien Bourdais (France) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:32.915
16. Kazuki Nakajima (Japan) Williams - Toyota 1:32.943
17. David Coulthard (Britain) RedBull - Renault 1:33.433
18. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Force India - Ferrari 1:33.501
19. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:33.562
20. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Ferrari 1:33.845
21. Anthony Davidson (Britain) Super Aguri - Honda 1:34.140
22. Takuma Sato (Japan) Super Aguri - Honda 1:35.725