Felipe Massa has promised to do everything within his power to aid Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen's title bid in this weekend's championship-deciding Brazilian Grand Prix, after delighting his home supporters by scorching to pole position.

The sixth time the 26-year-old has begun from the top spot this season - and also, coincidentally, the sixth time a Ferrari driver will start the Brazilian Grand Prix from P1 - Massa was peerless throughout the session, comfortably seeing off all comers in much the same way as he did last year when he converted pole into a famously popular victory. He is conscious, however, that should Raikkonen's challenge for the crown depend on it, he may not be allowed to repeat that result this time around.

"It's fantastic to be on pole again in front of my fans," the S?o Paolo native enthused. "To feel their affection and to see them celebrate in the stands is really amazing. The car was very competitive and I managed to get the most out of it.

"I hope to win tomorrow, but obviously I will do whatever is needed to help the team in its fight for the drivers' title. I am sorry not to be fighting for it myself, but I think in any case I have had a good season."

That much is inarguable, and team principal Jean Todt was effusive in his praise of his young Brazilian charge, who has recently been re-signed to the Maranello stable on a new three-year deal.

"The final qualifying of the year has brought us our ninth pole in this championship," the Frenchman affirmed. "This has been a snapshot of a special season that has witnessed a very close fight between us and our main rivals. We are well aware of the importance of the result of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

"As we have said we will do our utmost to the very last lap to try and get Kimi to take the drivers' title. Felipe, who for various reasons is out of the running as a title contender, wanted to make his mark in some way on a season that has been very positive for him, setting a fantastic pole in front of an exceptional Brazilian crowd that has always supported Ferrari with great affection. For Felipe, today's result is also a nice way for him to celebrate in front of his people the fact he now has a long-term extension of his contract with the Scuderia."

"It was a great qualifying," agreed technical director Luca Baldisserri, "with Felipe driving a splendid lap in Q3. All weekend, our Brazilian has been strong and today that has been confirmed. Kimi was also very competitive; it was a shame he had a few problems with traffic on his last run which cost him precious time.

"We can count on a good car, two drivers in great positions on the grid and a suitable strategy. We will try and get the best result possible and then do the maths at the end."

 

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