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Massa takes pole to erase memories of Budapest

Latest update : 2008-08-24

Determined to forget his Hungarian Grand Prix upset, Brazil's Felipe Massa (Ferrari) clocked the fastest time in qualifying to book first place on the grid ahead of Britain's Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) on Valencia's brand new track.

Stung by their disappointments in the last race, Ferrari will be keen to erase all memories of Hungary when they bid for glory in Sunday's European Grand Prix.

Both defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Brazilian Felipe Massa, who took pole position, are hoping to win the first street race on the new Mediterranean street circuit.

"Fourth place is not what I was looking for, but it's definitely not the end of the world," said Raikkonen, 28, who has not won a race since the last Grand Prix on Spanish soil, at Barcelona, at the end of April.

"I could have been higher up the grid, but on my last run in Q3, I locked the wheels at a few points and lost valuable time: it was nothing dramatic, but at this circuit, a small error is very costly.

"I still think I can be in the fight for the win, especially if I manage to get a good start. We have a good car, which should be especially competitive in the race."

Raikkonen is second in the title race with 57 points to leader Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren Mercedes who has 62. Massa, who took his fourth pole of the season and the 13th of his career, is third with 54.

Massa, mindful of the value of reliability following his disappointing retirement from the Hungarian Grand Prix three weeks ago when an engine failure cost him near-certain victory, said he felt relieved to take pole.

"After that great disappointment, at Budapest, this is a great feeling. But there is a long way to go. The team has done a great job, but the race is tomorrow and I really hope we can have a good one."

Date created : 2008-08-23