Revelling in his fifth pole position of the 2008 Formula One season, Felipe Massa admitted that only winning the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix could better the feelings of taking top spot in qualifying under lights in the city state.

The Brazilian came out on top of a head-to-head duel with world title rival Lewis Hamilton in the final phase of the timed hour on the streets around Marina Bay, but laid down an important marker by lapping six-tenths clear of the Briton. Although the difference, or at least part of it, could be put down to their respective fuel loads - the reality of which won't be known until the first round of pit-stops on Sunday night - Massa admitted that securing a front row slot for the race was among the high points of his year so far.

"For sure, that was one of the best qualifying for us this season - it was a huge margin," he enthused, "I think it was a great lap, a perfect lap.

"It always puts you in a good position when you can do everything perfectly, especially when you have a good car. The car was so good here during these two days, and I think we went into qualifying at the right moment to take the maximum out of the car. I think I did a good job, and the team did a great job as well, preparing the weekend. So that's it - everything went perfectly tonight."

Massa has now taken pole position for three of the four street races this year - missing out only on Melbourne - but reckoned that his final lap around Marina Bay was possibly the best of his season.

"It was just a great feeling," he admitted, "When you come into the last corner, you say 'I cannot make any mistake'. You are not trying to go on the limit at the last corner as you know everything could be worse than it actually is, so I just made it corner by corner, perfect, not making any single mistake. Then, when I came to the last corner, I said 'maybe I will take it a little bit easier' - but I couldn't. I did the last corner quickly anyway.

"When you get the best from the car, it is one of the most incredible feelings you can have as a racing driver; when you achieve what you want, it is always a great achievement."

While other drivers reverted to Bridgestone's supersoft compound in search of performance, Massa stuck to the harder option for his crucial lap, even though Hamilton had vaulted to the top of the times.

"Yesterday, I was happy on the hard tyres, and I was pretty keen to do Q3 on the hard tyres because I had exactly the same feeling in Monaco," he revealed, "I had the same feeling in Hungary as well - the tyres are not very different in terms of grip from the soft to the hard, but the hard is more consistent through the whole lap, to the end of the lap. That's why I was already quite comfortable and happy with the hard yesterday and this morning, and didn't even think about trying the prime."

The sense of occasion that has pervaded Singapore this weekend was not lost on Massa, who admitted that it was something special to have claimed the first 'night' pole in F1 history. Only one thing could now top that achievement in his mind.

"I am looking forward to doing a good job tomorrow," he admitted, "If we can win the race, it will be an even more fantastic feeling than winning the qualifying.

"I am sure it will be a very important race for Formula One. I think the people at home, knowing it is the first Formula One night race, are already very interested wherever they are. If they are in Brazil, to wake up to the race; if they are in Europe, to make sure after lunch to go home to see the race; if they are here, to go to the track."

With the problem of trying not to adjust to local time affecting everyone involved with the event, Massa conceded that keeping focused throughout the 61-lap race will be a major factor in being able to achieve his goal.

"Concentration will be ten times more important than a normal circuit, even maybe a little bit more difficult than Monaco as there are more corners," he noted, "It won't be easy.

It is pretty tough, a very difficult track. To get every corner right is really difficult. The lights, the visibility, I don't think is a big problem, to be honest. We have visibility, so you don't care, you just want to take the best out of the car, so you don't really think whether you are [driving] during the night or during the day, you just think about what you have to do.

"It will be a very difficult race for sure. We have a lot of bumps from turn five to turn seven, which is always difficult, and I think, to do 61 laps at a consistent pace, is very tough. But it's all part of the concentration, part of the way you drive a race. Let's try to make sure that, tomorrow, we can have a good start and have similar pace to that which we had in qualifying."


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