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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Kubica takes the pole

Robert Kubica nipped Felipe Massa on his final flying lap to take the first pole of his 25-race career Saturday in Bahrain.

Kubica had to deal with a significant vibration due to flat-spotting his tire early in the lap.

“Well, I started the lap pretty well, then in corner nine I locked the front wheels and unfortunately I flat-spotted the tyres, so it was not easy,” said Kubica. “I had a very big vibration and in the last three corners which are right-handers, it was very difficult but I managed not to make a mistake. The car was pulling to one side under braking but still it was enough for pole and I'm very happy.”

Massa, who has been dominating so far this weekend, and is in desperate need of a good showing in Bahrain, will start next to the BMW driver. The Brazilian ran into traffic problems in the final session.

“I did incredible laps during the whole weekend and the car was just perfect all the time,” said Massa. “And just in Q3 was the only time that I was behind cars all the time.”

Lewis Hamilton took third and will start next to Kimi Raikonnen in the race. Hamilton’s result owed much to the McLaren mechanics, who worked through the night to get the spare ready after Hamilton's shunt at the end of Friday’s second practice session.

Despite qualifying third, Hamilton felt happy with the car, and pole was within reach.

“Going into qualifying I was quite happy with the balance that I had and I knew that we would be able to challenge at least for the front row,” said Hamilton. “We're third, very very happy with that. I think it was a reasonably decent lap.

“For sure, as always, there's time to gain and I think inevitably if it was a perfect lap, we probably could have had pole but I'll go back and I'll study it and look forward to the race but I think we have a good strategy and I think tomorrow will be quite interesting,” he continued.

It’s the first time since China 2006 a non-Ferrari or McLaren driver has started on pole.

Heikki Kovalainen, Nick Heidfeld, Jarno Trulli, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button and Alonso round out the top 10. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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