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Spanish Grand Prix
Fuji Speedway, Fuji, 10-12 October 2008



Final positions in Fuji:

1. Hamilton (McLaren)

2. Raikkonen (Ferrari)

3. Kovalainen (McLaren)

4. Alonso (Renault)

5. Massa (Ferrari)

6. Kubica (BMW Sauber)

7. Trulli (Toyota)

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)

606: DEBATE
To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)
By Sarah Holt

0715: OK. That's it then. Join me for coverage of the Grand Prix at 0530 tomorrow. Eek, don't forget the coffee.

0712: "Just goes to show that when push comes to shove, Lewis can pull the lap out of the hat. Well driven."
Rob via text

0707: McLaren team boss Ron Dennis describes Hamilton's pole as "the best of his life". He reckons there will be difficult decisions to take when it comes to strategy on race day with both the drivers' title and constructors' crown at stake. If Renault take their claim that Hamilton blocked Piquet in the second session further the Englishman's pole could yet be under threat - but no news on that so far.

0701: Hamilton takes his sixth pole of the season in Fuji after clocking the fastest lap of 1:18.404. But there's more good news for the McLaren driver as his main title rival Massa can only bring his Ferrari home in fifth place.

In between the two rivals are Raikkonen, who was second for Ferrari, Kovalainen for McLaren and Alonso, who again delivered the goods for Renault, in fourth place.

Massa, who has been so consistent in qualifying this season, just couldn't string it together when it counted - and could that count against him for victory in Japan?

0700: LEWIS HAMILTON TAKES POLE POSITION FOR THE JAPANESE GRAND PRIX

0659: Hamilton goes even faster though - looks like he's on a bit of a flyer.

0658: Raikkonen is out again and is already going faster. As things stand, Hamilton will go out after Massa's final run - which means the McLaren man will know exactly what he has to do.

0657: The track is warming up nicely now and the Ferraris are finding it to their advantage. Raikkonen takes provisional pole in 1:18. 890 from team-mate Massa. Hamilton loses some time in the final sector and is third for now. The teams are preparing for their final hot laps. But who will take pole?

0653: Some interesting news from the Renault garage. Renault say Piquet aborted his final qualifying run because he was blocked by Hamilton. The team have complained to race director Charlie Whiting. BBC 5 Live commentator David Croft says: "Here we go again." Quite, Crofty, quite.

0652: The first couple of minutes of the final qualifying session tick by with no action. Hmmm. Here's good old Glock to get the real business under way. The German is soon followed by Raikkonen.

0650: Night races? No, this is what F1 is about. Bleary-eyed early mornings."
Maverick, Salti and Jolly - having an F1 party - via text.

0647: No excuses from Mark Webber as he tells BBC Radio 5 Live: "We were not quick enough - simple as that. It's unusual for us but we didn't get it together."

0645: The Red Bulls really struggle to find their fizz in Fuji as Coulthard and Webber both fail to go through to the fight for pole. Rosberg and Nakajima fail to get their Williams through while Renault's Piquet is the other man staying in the garage for good after aborting his qualifying.

0639: Massa and Hamilton are back in the pits with their feet up but there's plenty of work to be done out on the track as Piquet, Rosberg, Nakajima, Webber and Coulthard are all in the drop zone. Alonso, winner of the last race in Singapore, is under threat in 10th place while team-mate Piquet returns to the pits for good. Oooh, he must have a problem.

0633: Hamilton locks up in the final sector and that's cost him a little bit of time. He can't quite catch Massa and settles for second as the rest of the pack are out getting a feel for the track before attempting to secure their places in the top-10 shootout.

0631: Kimi Raikkonen is first out of the blocks for Ferrari as the second qualifying session gets under way. The Finn is soon followed by team-mate Massa. Raikkonen sets the benchmark but is easily beaten by Massa, who's heating up his soft tyres nicely, and clocks 1:17.287.

0625: Things may be going well for Toyota but a home Grand Prix for Honda is not going according to plan at all. Both Barrichello and Button crash out in the first qualifying session. Nick Heidfeld, who's been re-signed by BMW Sauber for next season, also fails to go through - apparently he was really struggling with his car's set-up. But no surprises as both Force Indias of Sutil and Fisichella also bow out.

0623: "Glock has certainly been on top form. This is good news for Toyota as this track belongs to them. But it suggests a lot of it is the confidence Glock's been feeling."
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

0621: Hang on a minute... Yay, Glock's back on top as he lays down a hot lap of 1:17. 945 to lead the pack going into the second session of qualifying.

0619: Boooo, Glock's reign is short-lived as he's beaten first by Massa and then Hamilton as the Englishman climbs back to the top of the timesheets with 1:18.074.

0617: Hello Timo Glock. The German has really taken to the Fuji track and proves it by toppling Hamilton with a time of 1:18.138.

0612: Now then, time to have a look at those chaps mired in the bottom five. The woe continues for the Force Indias as both Sutil and Fisichella are stuck at the bottom of the timesheets. Red Bull's Mark Webber is also struggling down in 18th with Nico Rosberg (Williams) and Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) just ahead of him.

0607: And the answer is . . . Lewis Hamilton. He goes almost half a second faster for McLaren as he clocks 1:18.232 - the fastest time set at Fuji during the entire weekend so far.

0605: Felipe Massa pops to the top of the timesheets, clocking 1:18.727 for Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton is looming behind him on the track. Who'll take the early advantage?

0602: A quick word on the tyres for you. Both softer compounds are running with painted green grooves as a mark of Bridgestone's support for the FIA's Make Cars Green campaign. Most drivers are expected to run on the dry tyres as they go in search of a hot lap.

0600: Hurrah it's my favourite early bird - Renault's Nelson Piquet, who is the first man out of the pits. He's followed by home favourite Nakajima for Williams.

0558: Almost ready. The track is virtually dry now with only a slight chance of rain during qualifying itself.

0552: Hamilton took his first victory in the rain in Japan last season and the wet weather wizard says he wouldn't mind a bit of drizzle looming over Mount Fuji this weekend. As things stand, Hamilton has a seven-point lead over Massa in the drivers' standings with three races left to run.

Now then, I'm not being a doom merchant BUT after the 2007 Japanese GP, Hamilton had a 12-point lead over former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso - and still ended up losing the crown to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who at that stage was a huge 17 points adrift.

This time McLaren are determined to take a conservative approach to the title run-in but Hamilton, who's looking pretty relaxed, is almost certainly going to go all out for pole - and the win in Fuji.

0545: Final practice ahead of qualifying took place in slippery conditions with the track officially declared wet - though the Fuji Speedway is drying up nicely now. Robert Kubica was fastest for BMW Sauber, clocking one minute, 25.087 seconds.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa eked out an advantage over title rival Lewis Hamilton, posting the seventh fastest time with Hamilton's McLaren running 11th after only completing eight laps.

Both Force Indias were struck by brake and hydraulic problems and because they didn't get going until late in the session they ended up propping up the timesheets.

0537: "It would seem that there is not much to choose between Ferrari and McLaren with Alonso looking strong as well. Rain - if and when it occurs - will only play into McLaren's hands."
Newdutchstar on 606

The 606 message boards will stay asleep until 9am but you can still text me your thoughts on 81111 (UK users only).

0530: Yaaaawn. I reckon the sound of Formula One's speed machines is just what I need to shake off the remnants of jet-lag.

Thank goodness then that a super early qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix is just minutes away. Welcome.


see also
Glock overshadows F1 title rivals
10 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton refreshed for F1 climax
09 Oct 08 |  Formula One
US & Canada snub angers F1 teams
10 Oct 08 |  Formula One


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