Felipe Massa said pole position for this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix was the perfect tonic following his crushingly disappointing result in Budapest three weeks ago - and he now intends to convert it into victory in the race.

The Brazilian has a superb record in Istanbul, having also taken pole there last year before going on to see off team-mate Michael Schumacher in a straight fight to the chequered flag to seal his debut grand prix success. It is, he admitted, a circuit that holds happy memories for him.

"I miss this place, being in the middle of the people," he remarked. "It was a great lap. It was very tight during the whole qualifying session between all four drivers, but I knew I had a good car and that if I put everything together I could be very quick. I have been pretty competitive over the weekend; even if I maybe have not always been first the balance was right and I just managed to put it together at the time that counted.

"I didn't have a very good lap in Q1 and Q2; I just couldn't put the lap together, but I was paying attention to where I was making mistakes. When you need to try to find the limit it's normal to make small mistakes, but fortunately it didn't happen at the crucial time.

"From the morning practice to qualifying the wind direction changed a little bit and affected some corners. I didn't have the same grip again in the last corner compared to earlier but I was still able to do a good T3, not pushing as hard there as before. I just tried not to be too aggressive.

"I was able to put everything together in the last run and it was a good lap. To be concentrated and do everything perfect is very difficult but I managed to do that, and I'm very proud and happy to be here especially after such a bad result in Hungary. I think we deserve it."

While acknowledging 58 laps of racing action in the oppressive Turkish heat would be a different challenge altogether, Massa insisted he was confident of being able to retain his advantage on Sunday afternoon as Ferrari bid to peg McLaren back in both the drivers' and constructors' title standings with six races left to run.

"The whole track is really nice," the 26-year-old enthused. "It's very technical to drive and difficult to find the right balance for every single part. Turn eight is fantastic; I really love that corner and I just managed to do it very well in qualifying.

"The race will be very tough. I think we have a good race car, as we showed in practice, but McLaren are going to be very competitive as well. I think it's going to be a difficult race for us and a nice race for the spectators.

"We will try to put both Ferraris ahead of both McLarens in every race from now on. The championship is not easy and a 21-point deficit is not comfortable, but is it possible [to overturn it]? We are going to try."

 

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