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Brazilian Grand Prix
Interlagos, Brazil, 2 November 2008



Final positions at Interlagos:

1. Massa (Ferrari)

2. Trulli (Toyota)

3. Raikkonen (Ferrari)

4. Hamilton (McLaren)

5. Kovalainen (McLaren)

6. Alonso (Renault)

7. Vettel (Toro Rosso)

8. Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

LATEST ACTION (all times GMT)

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

1725: It just goes to show you cannot predict anything in Formula One. Join me tomorrow afternoon when we will find out whether Hamilton or Massa will be crowned world champion. I cannot wait - only 24 hours to go then... see you soon.

1720: "What's the answer to David Croft's question? Only 2 drivers to have made into Q3 every single race this year?"
Ninad13 on 606

Ahh yes. The answer is Felipe Massa and Heikki Kovalainen.

1719: "That's OK for Hamilton - Massa running much lighter on fuel. I can't see Hamilton finishing outside top four - at the least he will hold his position. Still, should be exciting.."
Welltaken on 606

1709: After capturing pole, it looks like Massa has got himself into the perfect position to take the vital victory in Brazil. Hamilton only needs to finish fifth in Brazil if Massa wins the race to claim the world title. The Briton's main task will be to keep Massa in his sights and stay out of trouble in traffic. If you ask me it's all set for an exciting final race in Brazil.

1709: Raikkonen starts on the second row for Ferrari alongside his team-mate Massa's title rival Hamilton. The Englishman is immediately ahead of McLaren team-mate Kovalainen and Alonso's Renault.

1705: Jarno Trulli jubilantly trundles off to the media conference for the first time this season. We thought there might just be a surprise package in Brazil and it was the Toyota man that provided it. He lines up alongside Massa on the front row after clocking 1:12.368.

1702: Massa accepts the huge cheers from his home crowd as he takes pole for the third year running for the Brazilian GP. He has done exactly what he needed to do to give himself a chance of snatching the world title from Hamilton. "Who is the Daddy of Brazil?" says Massa's race engineer Rob Smedley on Ferrari's team radio.

1701: FELIPE MASSA TAKES POLE FOR THE BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX

1700: Trulli takes second from Raikkonen as Hamilton is pushed down to fourth.

1658: Massa out on his final flyer. He is just outside his own best time but can he increase the margin? He's still down through the first two sectors. He takes provisional pole - going faster with 1:12.368.

1657: Hamilton slides down to sixth place. He's got one more run to snatch pole position. He doesn't need pole position but what he doesn't need is to be stuck down the field like this during the race. The pressure is on.

1656: Massa is on provisional pole; he clocks 1:12.453. Hamilton loses time in the middle sector and slides to third fastest.

1654: Massa is out and on the charge to set his first flying lap for pole. He is well up on Vettel's time in the first sector but right behind him is Hamilton, who is eating into the Ferrari's time.

1650: Glock is the first man out as the fight for pole begins in earnest in Sao Paulo.

1649: An interesting stat from 5 Live commentator David Croft; he reports only two drivers have made it through to the Q3 at all 18 races this season. I'll give you a couple of minutes, then I'll get back to you with the answer.

1643: A late scramble for the line as the drivers fight to make it through to the final top-10 shootout. The names not going through to the final session are Barrichello, Coulthard, Kubica, Webber and Piquet. So Coulthard will start his final Grand Prix in 14th just behind Kubica. After a dismal time in qualifying for the Chinese GP, things get worse in for the Pole as his qualifies in 13th - his worse ever result.

1640: The McLarens are making the most of the soft tyres and Kovalainen nudges team-mate Hamilton off top spot in 1:11.768. Back in the Ferrari garage, Massa's race engineer Rob Smedley leans over his cockpit with some urgent instructions. The Brazilian won't come out again in this session but needs to find a bit more time on the track if he's to take pole.

1636: Things have settled at the top of the standings so let's look at those in the drop zone. The BMW Saubers are rock bottom because they haven't set flyers yet but also in the mire are Coulthard, Barrichello and Webber.

1633: Massa cruises to the top of the timesheets in 1:11.875 but Hamilton overhauls him by the tiniest of margins. The McLaren driver gets round in 1:11.856. There really is nothing in it on the short Interlagos circuit.

1630: Toyota pair Glock and Trulli get the second session under way with Trulli just nicking top spot. More cheers signal Massa's reappearance on the track.

1629: "Think Hamilton would be very pleased to qualify third - let the two Ferraris disappear off into the distance."
Fahqui on 606

1626: Going out in the first session are Nakajima (Williams), Button (Honda), Rosberg (Williams), Fisichella and Sutil (both Force India). So Rosberg the biggest surprise there while Button has parked his Honda down at Turn 14; either he simply cannot be bothered to bring it back to the garage or something has gone wrong - again.

Brits Up
1623: Good news for David Coulthard as the Scot squeezes into the second qualifying session by the skin of his teeth in 15th place for Red Bull. BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton is not getting carried away and says; "most people would just want to see him finish the race tomorrow and a point would be fantastic."

1621: A rush of cars cross the line as the time runs out in the first qualifying session. Massa holds top spot with a super fast time. There really was no need for him to go that fast in Q1 but maybe, just maybe, he wanted to prove a point to Hamilton.

1618: Fist pumps and cheers aplenty as Massa conjures a very neat lap to storm to top spot. The Brazilian clocks the fastest time of the weekend so far in 1:11.830. Things looks even better for Ferrari as Raikkonen moves from ninth to second.

1614: About five minutes to go and the two BMW Sauber drivers emerge for the first time. Coulthard is also on the charge as he aims to lift himself out of the drop zone. The Scot pulls his Red Bull up to 12th but he could be caught yet.

1612: Glock takes a big spin through the Senna S combination and Piquet has to take his foot of the gas to avoid his stranded Toyota. Luckily, Piquet had already set a time so that shouldn't interfere with his chances of making it through to the second qualifying session.

1610: Looming behind him on the track is Hamilton and he puts together a solid first flying lap to jump to the top of the standings with a time of 1:12.214. Hamilton is rolled back into the McLaren garage to take stock.

1608: A man excitedly jumps up from his seat and waves a flag as Massa emerges for the first time. A host of Brazilians follow suit in a Mexican wave that ripples around Interlagos - but Massa misses an apex and loses time to clock 1:12.574 and slot into third.

1605: "It would be awful if this was Rubens Barrichello last Grand Prix and he didn't even know it," says BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton. Gosh, what a depressing thought. Just as well Rubens can't pick up 5 Live sports extra on his team radio as he comes out onto the track for Honda.

1602: You could have put your house on Nelson Piquet being the first man out of the pits. Here he comes in his Renault in front of his home fans to set the first time of 1:13.208.

1558: An amazing atmosphere at Interlagos which sounds like a football match as the crowd cheer and whistle as the drivers are shown on the big screens. The drivers are settling into their cars now and we are almost ready for the final qualifying session of the season. I am EXCITED.

1550: Some other drivers to keep an eye out this weekend are Sebastian Vettel, Rubens Barrichello and Nelson Piquet. Vettel is driving for Toro Rosso for the last time before making the leap to sister team Red Bull next season. The future of Brazilian duo Barrichello and Piquet is rather more uncertain.

Barrichello is determined to fight for his seat at Honda while Piquet has struggled to convince Renault to keep him on. The 23-year-old says: "To be perfectly sincere, it has been much harder than I imagined, mainly because I had to race on tracks I was unfamiliar with."

Brits Down
1540: The Brazilian GP will be a life-changing moment for Hamilton or Massa but it's worth remembering that this race signals change for a few other drivers in the field.

I'm unfurling the Brit down arrow because it's almost time to wave goodbye to an often disgruntled David Coulthard, who is hanging up his racing gloves for good when the flag falls. The Scot has won 13 Grands Prix over 15 seasons in the sport and he'll be wanting to use all his experience to deliver a good showing in his Sao Paulo swansong.

I think he speaks for us all when he says: "You just don't imagine that one day your career will be finished, one day your grey hair will push through, your belly will start to come."

1537: "I think this whole thing about 'alonso interfering' has been blown out of proportion. I don't think he gives a toss and would never give up the chance to win for anyone."
Pottiella on 606

1530: There's a flurry of activity down in the pits as we're just half an hour away from qualifying. We've heard from Massa so it's about time we got the thoughts of his chief rival Hamilton. The McLaren driver is still staying pretty relaxed despite the fact that for the second year running he's racing to win the world title in Brazil.

"This is that final step, and this is the pinnacle, the crown at the top, and for sure this would be my biggest achievement," he says. "Last year I didn't enjoy this race at all, but this year already I'm enjoying it, and I will do for the rest of the weekend. We've come to win, and if we don't it's not the end of the world. That's how we'll approach it."

1514: "My qualifying prediction is: 1st row: Alonso and Raikkonen 2nd row: Hamilton and Massa 3rd row: Kubica and Kovalainen."
Dazza-ctfc on 606

1505: I mentioned the Pussycat in the paddock earlier (see 1450); but thought I was really doing you a disservice by not showing you the photo. So here goes...

Lewis Hamilton and girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger
Hamilton gives his girlfriend a VIP tour of the pits

Also knocking about the paddock is Brazil's 1972 and 1974 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi. There's no sign of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher in South America though. The word is that whenever he turns up to a Grand Prix he becomes such a huge magnet for attention and Ferrari may not have wanted any distractions.

1502: There is an awful lot of chat about whether Alonso might actively do anything to hamper Hamilton in Brazil. Given the pair's turbulent history when they were team-mates at McLaren last season, it's fair to say they are not best of friends but would Alonso really do anything on the track?

The brooding Spaniard is not afraid to speak his mind and he's been speaking plainly again in Brazil, saying: "I have said many times that I have great respect for Lewis and we speak together. But I think I will always prefer any team other than McLaren to win."

1450: "Hamilton should be striving to be in front of Kimi and Alonso. Just to be sure they don't hold him up."
FromNo13 on 606

Celebrity spot!
1450: There's time to squeeze in a spot of schmoozing in Sao Paulo before qualifying as the teams welcome their paddock guests into the pits. Caught on camera is Hamilton's girlfriend, Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger. She's had a VIP tour of the McLaren garage and her face is a picture as her British beau shows her his steering wheel. Bless him.

1440: "One small mistake by either title contender in qualifying or the race could move them towards the end of the grid. And it will not be easy to pass the rest of the pack in that case. The pressure is on, let the games begin.."
powerFormula1fan on 606

1426: Massa has been pretty relaxed all weekend as he returns to the city where he grew up with the opportunity to snatch a first world championship from Hamilton's grasp. But I bet the sweat is beginning to bead on his brow after final practice.

The 27-year-old has been on pole in Sao Paulo for the last two seasons but he needs to nail it this season more than ever. If he's to have any chance of clawing back Hamilton's seven-point championship lead, he needs to finish first or second in the race. So what's the chirpy Brazilian's game plan?

"My aim? To be in front of everyone, both today and tomorrow, and then we can do the maths when it's over," he said.

1412: "The gaps are deceiving here, being that its a short lap... Can't help but feel that for the last three races or so Alonso has been running light in qualifying so that he can interfere with the title contenders. Its actually worked out well for him though."
Mysteriousblablabla on 606

Final practice positions in Interlagos:

1. Alonso (Renault) 2. Hamilton (McLaren) 3. Kovalainen (McLaren) 4. Massa (Ferrari) 5. Vettel (Toro Rosso) 6. Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) 7. Bourdais (Webber) 8. Webber (Red Bull) 9. Piquet (Renault) 10. Trulli (Toyota) 11. Rosberg (Williams) 12. Raikkonen (Ferrari) 13. Glock (Toyota) 14. Kubica (BMW Sauber) 15. Nakajima (Williams) 16. Coulthard (Red Bull) 17. Barrichello (Honda) 18. Button (Honda) 19. Fisichella (Force Indai) 20. Sutil (Force India)

1407: So after that late flurry it looks like qualifying is going to be a cracker in Brazil. Looking right down the field, there are just 1.539 secs separating Alonso at the top of the tree to rock bottom's Sutil's mark for Force India. As BBC 5 Live commentator David Croft says, just one small wobble could really shake up the order.

1405: Alonso's late charge sees him eclipse his former McLaren team-mate by 0.071 secs with Kovalainen third fastest in the second McLaren ahead of Ferrari's title contender Massa.

1400: Massa may not be able to beat his rival Hamilton but there's one man on the track who can - his old nemesis Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard gracefully threads his Renault around Interlagos and crosses the line in 1:12.141 to leap from 17th to the top of the timesheets to topple Hamilton.

1359: Massa's bright red Ferrari looms large on the track as he chases down Hamilton's time in front of his fans. The Brazilian is up on Hamilton's time in the middle sector but loses times in the run in to the line. Massa clocks 1:12.31 for second.

1358: Hamilton inches past his team-mate, clocking 1:12.278.

1357: The McLarens wanted more speed and they get it as Kovalainen jumps to the top of the timesheets with 1:12.225.

1355: The McLaren camp must be feeling pretty happy with themselves after an improved performance in final practice. Any glitches they had on Friday seemed to have been ironed out overnight. Hamilton and Kovalainen come out on the softer tyres to see if they can go even faster.

1352: There should be time to squeeze in another round of flying laps before the flag falls on final practice.

1350: "Heikki's strategy must be geared to get in front, and hold Massa up. He needs to be a bit light, so he can do this."
Greg via text on 81111

Hamilton's team-mate Kovalainen is tucked behind the main protagonists in third at the minute and doing a solid job for McLaren so far. The friendly Finn answered rumours in the Sao Paulo paddock that he was fed up of playing second fiddle to Hamilton by saying; "reports of my unhappiness are untrue." Ahhh, I hope they are Heikki.

1345: Massa is on the charge for Ferrari but he's still down on Hamilton's time and stays in second for now. There are about 15 minutes to go in final practice and no change in the order of the top four for now.

1343: Hamilton is still having a bit of trouble getting through the long right-hander at Bico de Pato where he locks up his right-front tyre and loses the back end of his McLaren. He's been losing time there all weekend and he fails to beat his benchmark.

1339: BBC 5 Live's pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie says there are lots of smiles in the McLaren garage now that normal service has been resumed. Friday's second practice was played out in cool conditions but it's sunny in Sao Paulo and track temperatures are up to 30C. Hamilton is back out on track now.1334: "If Ferrari reckon that Hamilton is going to get pole, they'll take all the fuel out of Kimi's tank, to get pole and make sure the Ferraris get ahead of him at the first corner."
Mysteriousblablabla on 606

1329: The championship contenders both had little wobbles on their first flyers and stay out on the track to try and better their times. Neither manage to eke out more pace and return to their teams to plot their next runs.

"Hamilton sent a little message to Ferrari there 'you saw me struggling yesterday but actually I can do the times'".
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

1325: Hamilton quickly snuffs out any Brazilian fever as he goes fastest with his first effort, clocking 1:12.278 on the hard tyres. Massa is 0.149 secs behind. Things are very tight between the two rivals, too tight to really tell just whether the McLarens or Ferraris have superior pace in Brazil.

1322: Lots and lots of flag-waving from the Brazilian fans as Massa puts his foot down for his first flying lap.

1316: Kimi Raikkonen stops posing for photos, slides into his Ferrari and weaves it round the circuit. The Finn has a slight wobble in the final sector but does enough to clock 1:12.881 to top the timesheets. Massa emerges from the pits for the first time - so let's see what he can do.

1308: Giancarlo Fisichella sets the first meaningful time of the session in his Force India. He trundles around in one minute 21.255 seconds but is soon eclipsed by his team-mate Adrian Sutil.

1304: As usual, it's a slow start to the practice session with most of the drivers emerging from the pits for an installation lap to get a feel for their cars. Only the two Ferraris are staying in the pits for now. In fact, they are feeling so relaxed they are actually posing for team photos.

1301: "Both contenders want to be in the front row for all the obvious reasons. The first two turns here are a recipe for all sorts of problems so ideally Hamilton would like to be on the front row, show the field a clean pair of heels and and look after his own race."
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

1300: Hello there. Here's a first, welcome to third practice for the spectacular season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

We'll be watching the cars whizz round the bumpy Interlagos circuit for the next hour or so to gauge form ahead of qualifying at 1600, when the real business begins.

Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa are going head-to-head for the world championship and you can bet your bottom Brazilian Real (worth a whole 28p) that both will go all out for pole.

With a seven-point lead over Massa in the bank, the Englishman doesn't need to win at Interlagos but asking him to rein in his racing instincts is about as likely as Brazilians suddenly being rubbish at football.

For Massa, only a win or second place will do in Sao Paulo, so a sixth pole of a season is a must for the hometown boy.

But who do you think will grab pole and will it have any real effect on the championship? I'd like you to get involved as much as possible via text on 81111 or 606. Join the debate on 606





see also
Hamilton cannot take title for granted
31 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton 'feels Senna connection'
31 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Relaxed Hamilton ignores pressure
30 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Will Hamilton win the world title?
31 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Massa shrugs off title pressure
28 Oct 08 |  Formula One


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