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These things happen

NEWS STORY
22/10/2006

To the great delight of the noisiest crowd on the F1 calendar, local man Felipe Massa took pole position for the final round of this year's world championship, with a bravura performance at the wheel of his 248 F1.

But if a happy Massa claimed he would remember this day for the rest of his life, his Ferrari team-mate, Michael Schumacher, found himself re-using a phrase he had delivered after retiring from the Japanese Grand Prix a fortnight ago: "these things happen in racing."

Having comfortably made sure of a run in the final part of qualifying, the German left the pits for his last ever qualifying run, only to gradually slow and crawl back to the pit lane with what was later found to be loss of fuel pressure, due a faulty fuel pump. It was a cruel blow given the well-known situation in the Drivers' Championship, even if it means that the 71 lap Brazilian Grand Prix now promises to see a very interesting race develop.

An all-Ferrari front row was definitely on the cards had it not been for Schumacher's bad luck. Instead, for his third pole position, Felipe shares the front row with the man who will be his team-mate next season, Kimi Raikkonen, in the McLaren-Mercedes. Third place goes to the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, while reigning champion Fernando Alonso starts fourth in his Renault. The third row sees Rubens Barrichello in fifth spot, with Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Renault in sixth. Michael shares the fifth row of the grid with the BMW-Sauber of Robert Kubica.

The challenge of winning either the Drivers' or Constructors' Championships will be extremely tough, however, if "these things happen in racing" is the unfortunate motto of the last two races for the Italian team, "we never give up" is a longer standing Ferrari tradition.

Technical Director Ross Brawn feels the overall 248 F1-Bridgestone package is good enough to still see both Felipe and Michael stay and get to the front tomorrow.

And it is worth noting that Michael once won the Belgian GP starting way down in sixteenth place.

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