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As it happened: Final Practice and Qualifying
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
12:30 Hello everyone and welcome to Live as we continue to bring you blow-by-blow coverage from the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Today we will bring you coverage from the third and final practice session and then the vital qualifying hour for tomorrow's race. The schedule looks like this:

12:30 - 13:00 The breakfast bar: Ease your way into Saturday with a look back over Friday's action at Interlagos.
13:00 - 14:00 Live commentary and updates from the final practice session.
14:00 - 16:00 Continuing track updates, as well as weather status, and any breaking news from the circuit.
16:00 - 17:00 Live commentary and updates from the qualifying session.
17:00 - 17:30 End of day reaction and round-up, where we go from here, and what we can look forward to tomorrow.
17:30 Live commentary ends for today.

12:32 You can join in the fun by chatting live with other forum members.

Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you'd like to join the debate.

12:35 Today the weather will be significantly improved over Friday's overcast skies and drizzle. This morning, we begin with dry conditions, mostly cloudy skies with occasional sunny intervals. There was no rain overnight, meaning the rubber laid down yesterday is still on the racing surface.

Later, towards qualifying and the late afternoon, a thin layer of high cloud is likely to quell the brightness a bit, but rain is not expected.

The battle for pole will take place in dry conditions, with just a 10 percent chance of rain anticipated by local sources such as Climatempo. The maximum air temperature today will rise slightly compared to yesterday's mark at 22 degrees Celsius.

As far as Sunday is concerned, the magic roundabout that is the ever-changing rainfall prediction has evolved further overnight. Later today, following the conclusion of qualifying, we will take a detailed look at the prospects for the race.

Felipe Massa12:40 Felipe Massa won the opening day battle in Brazil yesterday as Lewis Hamilton didn't have a particularly smooth ride during three hours of practice at Interlagos.

Overcast conditions and a little bit of drizzle in the air made for difficult and ever-changing track conditions as the cars took to the circuit for the first of two practice periods, with free engines and gearboxes available so the drivers could push the limits without fear of penalty.

In the morning, once the usual round of system checks and installation laps were completed, more serious running was performed. The Toro Rossos were the first to set a sensible benchmark, before Timo Glock moved to the top of the times. At this stage the Ferrari and McLaren teams were content to let some other cars clean the line and put some rubber down on the circuit, before heading out for a run themselves.

When they did, it was Lewis Hamilton initially that looked the quicker of the championship contenders, posting a 1:12.495. But, late in the session, Massa clocked 1:12.305 - almost two-tenths of a second faster than the Briton. Kimi Raikkonen was third in the second of the Ferraris, with Robert Kubica fourth for BMW.

Massa edges Hamilton in first practice

The overcast conditions with occasional light drizzle remained overhead for the second session later in the afternoon. The action began early with a stream of runs. These continued for some time, as the teams performed soft and hard tyre comparison work on this abrasive surface.

Cool temperatures, allied to the aggressive track surface, which was completely repaved last year to smooth out the annual complaints of bumps, created a situation where the circuit was very hard on tyres, and graining was a problem for many drivers.

So far it is Ferrari that seemed to grab the initiative. Felipe Massa surged to the top of the list once again midway through the second session with a lap of 1:12.353 and set impressive times on his race-preparation runs. The mark remained there for a long time, until Fernando Alonso came round on a soft tyre lap, late in the session, to grab first in 1:12.296.

Lewis HamiltonMeantime, Lewis Hamilton was having trouble locking brakes, particularly in the slower corners such as the Bico de Pato, in the more twisty infield part of the circuit, and into turn one at the Senna S. In contrast to his competitive pace in the morning on the harder tyre, Hamilton didn't set particularly good times on the softer rubber in the afternoon as he appeared to struggle with graining. Some of his work in the second session was also compromised by the occasional drizzle and later he also said the strong wind was causing him problems.

When the drivers are busy, with their helmets on, it can be difficult sense body language in terms of how the driver is getting on, but Lewis's frustration was there for all to see following another huge lock-up at the end of the session as he went for a quick final time on the harder tyre.


17:40 Replays at the end of the session have shown Lewis Hamilton apparently less than pleased with his afternoon's work. The Briton seemed to be agitated, throwing his gloves off as his McLaren was wheeled back into the McLaren garage at the end of the session. The championship leader locked up heavily on his last run of the day and ended the second session only ninth quickest.

The McLaren team will certainly have worked on improvements to the car's set-up overnight, and Hamilton's single-lap pace, along with ever-improving grip levels should see him move up the order today. Ultimately, he doesn't need to win the Brazilian Grand Prix - a fifth place finish is enough to seal the title.

Q & A with Lewis Hamilton

So, Alonso topped the afternoon session, marginally ahead of Massa, with Jarno Trulli third for Toyota and Kimi Raikkonen fourth. Hamilton wound up ninth, 0.5 seconds behind his championship rival Massa.

Alonso tops times in second practice

Jarno Trulli12:45 Toyota are likely to be in the fight for points again this weekend in Brazil, following a positive day's running during Friday's practice sessions.

The morning session saw a lot of running in preparation for the race, and Jarno Trulli placed 11th in the classification, just behind teammate Timo Glock. Both drivers finished just over one second away from the leading pace of Felipe Massa.

Later, in the afternoon, as Glock slipped down the order to 14th, Trulli used the softer tyres early in the session, setting a best time of 1:12.435.

The Italian has not been feeling well in the lead-up to the event as he explained later on Friday afternoon.

"I was ill with the flu yesterday (Thursday) so I took the time to rest in order to help me recover," said Trulli. "Today I have been feeling better and I was able to drive with no problems. It doesn't look like we are in Brazil but that's the weather at the moment."

In cool temperatures so far this weekend, many of the teams are struggling to get the best from the Bridgestone tyres, which are a step harder at this circuit than they were last year. Toyota are one of those teams, and Jarno is hoping for warmer weather as the weekend continues.

"It was a pretty good day, unexpected, but we wish it were a bit more sun, especially for the next few days. We hope the temperature goes up because it will help a lot our performance."

The Interlagos circuit is one of the ultimate challenges for the drivers and race engineers in terms of car set-up. Maximum speed is required on the long straight past the start-finish line, but also you need good aerodynamic and mechanical grip through the slower middle section of track.

The cars need to be as quick as possible on the straight to prevent being passed easily during the race itself, and this is balanced against the ever-changing weather forecasts. If the predicted rain arrives on Sunday before or during the race, more downforce is useful to keep the car on the road. It is a headache for the drivers and engineers, and a quandary that can easily lead to frustration.

"As usual, you need to find a good compromise (on set-up)," said Trulli. "The last part is very quick and you need a low downforce for quick speed, but the mid sector is very important as well and then you need the downforce, you need the grip level so it's always quite a big drama to find the right compromise here."

Felipe Massa12:50 Felipe Massa looked like the man to beat in practice yesterday. The Brazilian topped the timesheets in the first period and was only pipped in the afternoon by a late flyer from Fernando Alonso. He also set impressive times as he evaluated both types of tyre over a number of laps, and so far looks on course for the top-two finish he needs on Sunday to give himself a chance of the drivers' title.

"I think it was a good start," said Massa after practice. "We were very strong, very competitive. The pace was very good so, usually on the last race Lewis was very strong straight away on Friday and today was the opposite so shows that our car is more competitive than Shanghai and that for sure is a very good start. We don't have any points, yet, but I think we did a good job to set up the car."

With many drivers complaining about graining tyres in the cold conditions, Massa spoke about the performance of his Ferrari, which has struggled at some circuits to get the best out of the Bridgestones.

"The cold weather doesn't help," said Massa. "But it's not really the weather which makes the difference in our car, it's the grip we have on the tyres, the grip we have on the track. So, if the grip is there, our car works very well, and today it was cold but the grip was very high so that's always good for our car."

"The car was very competitive - very quick - so I'm quite motivated that we can have a strong weekend so I think it was a very good job we did today," he said. "In the battle for the championship it is always important to be in front. So it doesn't matter if it is Friday, Saturday or Sunday. On the last race, Hamilton was very quick already on Friday, so this time we were quicker so it means that, I think, our car is much more competitive than last race and it's a good start for the battle."

Asked if there was more speed to come from McLaren, Massa said: "Maybe - I hope not! But, maybe they still can improve. We need to be ready for the battle and, as I said, I think today was a good day."

12:55 There are five minutes remaining until the start of the third and final practice session, ahead of tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix.

This session will be the last chance for the teams and drivers to perfect their set-ups before they enter parc ferme conditions at the start of qualifying.

12:58 The track temperature is 28 Celsius, a slight improvement on yesterday as the brighter conditions give a 20 degree ambient. There is still a strong and variable breeze blowing across the circuit.

12:59 Giancarlo Fisichella sits ready in his Force India and is traditionally one of the first drivers to take to the track in a practice session.

0 min: The practice session is underway.

0 min: The Force India drivers Fisichella and Adrian Sutil are the first to leave the pits and lead the queue of cars on to the racetrack.

1 min: Several drivers are practicing a start at the end of the pitlane. Among them are Heikki Kovalainen and Kazuki Nakajima. Nico Rosberg also practices a start.

1 min: The Renault pair of Alonso and Piquet are using the softer tyre for this installation lap, in contrast to the majority of the pack.

1 min: The multi-race engines and gearboxes are now installed in the cars, ahead of tomorrow's race.

Lewis Hamilton is now on track to check out the installation of his engine - the same unit that he used to win the Chinese Grand Prix. His title rival, Felipe Massa, has a fresh engine in his Ferrari.

The 'joker' engine change, without penalty, can not be played at the final round so both drivers would face grid penalties if they have reliability trouble today.

2 min: Sutil and Fisichella are already back in pit lane at the completion of their installation lap.

3 min: The drivers pour back into the pits on completion of their first checking lap.

David Coulthard is on the team radio, checking the radio system, which is working very well this morning.

3 min: Only the Ferrari pair have yet to take to the track and the team normally wait until later in the session before starting to lap the circuit.

5 min: The track is empty at the moment as the teams briefly check over the data from that first lap to ensure there are no problems.

6 min: Giancarlo Fisichella breaks the pause and heads out onto the track.

7 min: The Force India driver has the track all to himself as he makes his way over the line to start the first timed lap of the day.

7 min: Kimi Raikkonen looks ready in his Ferrari but his teammate and title contender Felipe Massa takes time for a photo with his team of mechanics and engineers at the back of the garage.

8 min: Fisichella is using the softer of the two tyre types, and he completes that first effort with a time of 1:21.255.

10 min: Fisichella goes on for a second lap and again is fairly slow on the circuit, and improves to 1:20.178.

11 min: Others are now coming out to join Fisichella. His Force India teammate Adrian Sutil, Nelson Piquet and Timo Glock all come out.

12 min: Fisichella lowers his time on his third flyer to 1:19.243, as Sutil completes his first timed lap of the day, moving ahead of the Italian with 1:14.207.

13 min: Timo Glock in the Toyota is using the harder tyre for his first run, and he is set to beat Adrian Sutil's time on his first lap.

Glock crosses the line and goes fastest with 1:13.982.

14 min: Glock continues his run, shaving a bit more off the best time with a lap of 1:13.803.

15 min: Giancarlo Fisichella either has a problem with his Force India entry, or more likely, is possibly scrubbing some sets of soft tyres ahead of the qualifying session later today.

Earlier this year in Hungary we saw Renault similarly scrubbing tyres in the Saturday morning session.

We will monitor Giancarlo's progress to see how his second run goes shortly.

15 min: Nelson Piquet slots in second quickest of the early runners.

17 min: Nelson Piquet improves his time to 1:13.154 to take over the top spot in the standings.

17 min: Nick Heidfeld is starting his work with the harder tyre on the BMW. He is third quickest at the moment.

18 min: Kimi Raikkonen pulls out of the Ferrari garage with the harder tyre on his car.

18 min: Rubens Barrichello goes second to Piquet with a lap of 1:13.290, with Heidfeld third, Trulli fourth after his first effort and Timo Glock in fifth place.

19 min: Jenson Button crosses the line and moves into fifth position with a time of 1:13.552.

20 min: Giancarlo Fisichella has come out for his second run, and posts a 1:13.964 which is on the pace. The Italian is now seventh in the classification.

20 min: Raikkonen is quickly to the top of the order with a lap of 1:12.881, despite a moment at Juncao.

20 min: David Coulthard slots into third place, behind Raikkonen and Piquet with a lap time of 1:13.058.

21 min: Heikki Kovalainen's opening salvo gives him the ever-changing benchmark with a lap of 1:12.555 in the McLaren.

Both Hamilton and Massa are now warming up for their first flying laps of the day.

22 min: Fisichella has completed another very short run in the Force India VJM01. Two runs of four laps plus an installation lap make up the Italian's total of nine tours so far this morning.

22 min: Fisichella leaves the pit lane once again, beginning his third run already in 22 minutes.

22 min: The Brazilian crowd cheer their hero as Massa brings his Ferrari around to start a flying lap.

24 min: Fernando Alonso goes seventh with his first lap of the day - 1:13.300.

Kovalainen remains fastest, ahead of Raikkonen, Piquet, Coulthard and Nick Heidfeld in fifth.

24 min: Lewis Hamilton's first effort, on the harder tyre, is a good one. He clocks a 1:12.278 to top the session after almost 25 minutes of final practice.

Massa joins him at the top, with his 1:12.427 slotting in second.

25 min: The times are changing quickly as Mark Webber goes fifth in the Red Bull Renault. 1:12.933 is his first flying lap of the day.

26 min: Sebastian Vettel moves up from seventh to fifth with a time of 1:12.794 in the Toro Rosso.

26 min: Replays show mistakes from both Hamilton and Massa on the laps after they put a time on the board.

Hamilton had to scoop up a moment at the Descida do Lago, with Massa catching a wobble at the Bico de Pato.

28 min: Lewis Hamilton is fastest as we approach the half-hour mark, with a time of 1:12.278. His championship rival Felipe Massa is second, 0.149 seconds behind him. Heikki Kovalainen is third with Kimi Raikkonen fourth, Sebastian Vettel fifth and Mark Webber in sixth place.

29 min: The welcome sight of sunshine breaking through the clouds is now overhead at Interlagos, pushing the track temperature up to 30 Celsius.

30 min: Only a handful of drivers are out on the circuit at the moment, as the action dies down slightly following that early rush of laps from the bulk of the field.

The teams will now check the tyre data, set-ups, and work on some improvements for the important second half of this session.

32 min: Adrian Sutil is among those out on track at the moment. The German is now using the harder tyre. His latest lap over the line is a 1:13.899 which is an improvement in time, but he remains in 20th position.

34 min: As the track temperature continues to increase, the teams will have to ponder the ever-changing grip levels. The warmer temperatures will be welcome throughout the field, as many drivers complained of graining, particularly on the softer tyre, in the cool conditions on Friday.

37 min: Heikki Kovalainen is back on track, with teammate Hamilton also just heading out of the pit lane. The first run of the day has been a positive one for the McLaren team, putting them first and third on the timesheet.

39 min: The order is unchanged at the top with Hamilton at the top ahead of Massa, Kovalainen, Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in fifth place.

39 min: Kovalainen has a gentle lock-up of his right front at Bico de Pato, going on for a time of 1:12.981.

Teammate Hamilton starts his second run with a flying lap of 1:12.988 on the used set of harder tyres.

40 min: Fernando Alonso is on track and improving in the Renault. He loses a lot of time in sector two and ultimately there is no improvement to his overall lap time. He remains in 12th place.

41 min: Hamilton was on for an improved lap but once again the Bico de Pato caused him trouble - a lock-up of the right front cost him the lap and slowed the time to a 1:15.115.

41 min: Robert Kubica reports on the team radio that every time he touches the brakes the rear is moving around (oversteer), and the front end is very easy to lock up on entry into the corners.

44 min: Kimi Raikkonen is back on track as the sunshine lifts the asphalt to 35 Celsius. Kimi lapped close to his current fastest time as he resumed his run on the harder tyre.

Teammate Massa is also out on the same type of rubber, this being the set used throughout the session so far.

44 min: Massa clocks a 1:12.487 at the start of his second run, just fractions off his earlier best - currently second quickest to Lewis Hamilton.

45 min: Jenson Button is 16th in the Honda and improving on his current lap. He sets a personal best time in the first sector, but loses a little time in the twisty middle portion of the track.

The Briton comes into the pits and doesn't complete that attempt.

46 min: The Ferrari team simulate a pit stop with Kimi Raikkonen. The pit crews will have to be on top form on Sunday, with one mistake able to cost their driver the championship.

48 min: Sebastian Vettel is fifth and improves very slightly with his latest lap, set using the hard tyre. 1:12.794 for the German.

50 min: The majority of the field is now in the pits, preparing for a final run on the softer tyre.

This part of the session often paints a confusing picture, with some teams using a lighter fuel load - while those confident enough to expect to run in the final part of qualifying test the softer rubber with a heavier car.

50 min: Jarno Trulli moves up the order from 15th to 10th with a lap of 1:13.104, using the harder tyre.

Jenson Button came back out onto the track for a short run, didn't manage to improve on his 16th position and has returned to the Honda pit.

52 min: Only two drivers are currently on the circuit - Rubens Barrichllo who we think is coming towards the end of a run and Robert Kubica, whio has come back out again onto the track with the harder tyre.

53 min: The track temperature is now 37 Celsius, fifteen degrees warmer than during practice yesterday.

53 min: Barrichello pits the Honda leaving Kubica all alone on the circuit with just over six minutes to go.

54 min: Mark Webber leaves the pits and starts his final run of laps this morning, as Kubica pits the BMW.

54 min: Webber is out there using the soft tyre. There is likely to be an abundance of soft tyre runs now setting us up for an exciting final five minutes of the session.

55 min: Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton head out of the pits for their final run of the session on the softer tyres.

56 min: Webber starts his flying lap and immediately is faster than Hamilton's first sector time. Pinching the car into each apex in the twisty section, the Australian comes round and has lost a little time at the end of the second sector.

Mark flashes across the line and goes third with a 1:12.453.

56 min: Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest first sector of the session as he continues his flying lap on the softer rubber.

57 min: Hamilton beats his teammate by a fraction, improving the quickest time of the day to 1:12.212.

57 min: Sebastien Bourdais is very quick in the first sector on his latest effort. Two personal best sector times and only thre long drag towards the line to come. Bourdais is using the softer tyre and the Frenchman goes third with 1:12.426.

58 min: Felipe Massa is cheered on by the crowd as he gets his soft tyre effort underway.

58 min: Nico Rosberg improves to sixth place with a 1:12.625.

It is a mini-qualifying session at the moment with all 20 cars on the track on their final runs.

59 min: Robert Kubica improves, but only to tenth place in the BMW with a time of 1:12.971.

59 min: Massa is a fraction quicker than Hamilton at the second checkpoint but he lost time in the final sector. His time was 1:12.312 for third, a tenth slower than Hamilton.

60 min: The session has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

14:00 Nelson Piquet uses the soft tyres on his way to sixth place in the Renault, having posted a 1:12.457, as Trulli slots in behind the Brazilian in seventh with 1:12.457.

14:00 Kimi Raikkonen cut the beam in 1:12.768 and failed to improve on his earlier time.

14:01 Fernando Alonso is set to do it again. The Spaniard vaults from 17th to first place on the timing sheet with a 1:12.141 set using the soft tyres.

14:01 Nick Heidfeld grabs sixth quickest in the final scramble on soft rubber, posting 1:12.402.

14:02 Once again, the drivers have the opportunity to practice a start from the grid.

14:05 Jarno Trulli is the last driver to come back to the pits. He enters pitlane, bringing calm to the circuit after that amazing last few minutes of action.

14:05 Fernando Alonso again produces the late, late show to move to the top of the list. He ends the morning session fastest with a time of 1:12.141 following a soft tyre run.

Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen make it a McLaren two-three, with Felipe Massa fourth in the Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel fifth in the STR and Nick Heidfeld sixth for BMW Sauber.

14:06 In the sunshine at Interlagos, the track temperatures continue to rise - hitting 39 Celsius by the end of the session.

That may be one factor in a much more competitive display from the McLaren pair this morning, setting things up nicely for this afternoon's qualifying battle.

14:12 The report and classification is now available after a busy final practice session at Interlagos:

Alonso tops final practice in Brazil

14:28 There is no support race action to entertain the crowd in between the two Formula One sessions. This will be welcome news for the teams, as other cars running on the circuit can disrupt the grip level on the track.

In the sunshine, the pit lane is being opened for the Paddock Club guests to get up close to the machinery, while the teams prepare the cars for the parc ferme conditions that begin at the start of qualifying.

Timing14:55 The first and second periods of qualifying this afternoon are likely to produce slightly more drama than usual, due to the short 2.677 mile lap length at Interlagos.

Traditionally, shorter circuits reduce the spread of times throughout the field. The A1 ring in Austria, sadly off the Formula One calendar since 2003, always had tight grids with lap times around the 1:09 seconds bracket.

So far this weekend, the fastest time is the 1:12.141 set by Fernando Alonso in the final minutes of the final practice session this morning. The top 17 drivers were covered by less than one second, and Adrian Sutil, who wound up last in 20th position, was only 1.539 seconds shy of the front-running pace.

Looking at the potential dropzone areas in periods one and two, 14th to 17th this morning were covered by just 0.136 seconds.

Force India are likely to miss the cut in the first round, but ahead of them it will be a free-for-all. Honda duo Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello - participating in what could be his final Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend - also look like they may miss out, but do not discount them making it through with a final banzai effort on the last lap of Q1.

Looking up the order, to the second dropzone, places six to thirteen in morning practice were separated by 0.310 seconds.

The fight for the grid will be hectic, and some notable names could find themselves on the wrong side of safety when the first and second qualifying periods are completed.

Handshake15:25 Fuel levels are always a question for the ten cars that win their way through to the decisive final phase of qualifying. At the end of the second part of the session, the cars going in to Q3 must be filled with enough fuel to last the first stint of the race.

With the weight of the fuel having an impact on the lap times in the scramble for pole, there is always the incentive to try a short first stint and an all-out dash for the front of the grid.

Wild speculation in the paddock has conjured up many theories on fuel loads for the leading contenders in the upcoming session.

Should Lewis Hamilton go for a light load to guarantee pole position and stay clear of the mid-pack danger zone at the start? Can Kimi Raikkonen be the hare for Ferrari with less fuel in his tank this afternoon? Should McLaren give Heikki Kovalainen less petrol so he can mix it with the Ferraris? What about light fuel for Felipe Massa so he can lead from the front?

One further factor to consider is Fernando Alonso in the rejuvenated Renault, with the Spaniard setting a strong pace at the end of both the second and third practice sessions.

Carrying fuel has less effect around this circuit than some of the others, with each ten kilos of petrol costing about a quarter of a second on the clock. That means a driver would have to pit a number of laps earlier than the pack to gain much advantage this afternoon.

Ultimately, each team will put as little fuel in the cars as they think they can get away with, and their numbers will probably shake out quite close at the first stops tomorrow. The teams will also be mindful of the weather forecast, with more fuel being helpful should the predicted rainfall arrive on Sunday.

15:40 The weather is near-perfect as we tick down under 20 minutes before the qualifying session.

The clouds have continued to disperse during the break between sessions, and above the circuit there is sunshine and just a few scattered clouds.

The air temperature is rising to around 22 degrees Celsius but, with plenty of sunshine today, the track temperature has increased dramatically, and could break the 40 degree barrier during the qualifying session.

15:50 There are ten minutes to go before the vital battle for the best places on the grid begins in Interlagos.

15:56 The track temperature is up to 40 Celsius in the bright sunshine and 22 degree ambient. A strong breeze continues to flutter the flags at the entrance to the pit lane.

"The important thing is to try and avoid the things that will cost us the world championship. The level of control on our components has doubled. We cannot do more than we are doing."
Ron Dennis, McLaren team boss speaking to German broadcaster Premiere

15:59 The tension is rising as the start of the session approaches.

Fernando Alonso puts on his balaclava and gets ready for action down in the Renault garage.

0 min: Qualifying is underway at Interlagos.

0 min: Nelson Piquet is the first driver to come out onto the circuit this afternoon.

1 min: The Brazilian is using a set of hard tyres on the Renault, as Timo Glock and Giancarlo Fisichella join him on the track.

1 min: Piquet begins the first timed lap of the qualifying session as he flashes across the line.

2 min: Nelson Piquet completes the first lap and the time is 1:13.208.

2 min: A few more cars pull out of the pit lane, although a lot of the runners are waiting for the best possible track conditions.

3 min: Rubens Barrichello is out there using the soft tyre on the Honda, as he bids to make it through to round two of the session. Barrichello starts his first timed attempt.

Rosberg starts his first lap and is using the harder tyre.

4 min: Timo Glock has beaten Piquet's early benchmark with 1:13.023.

4 min: Rubens Barrichello goes into second place after setting 1:13.030.

5 min: Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa both head out of the pit lane. There is huge cheer from the crowd as Massa accelerates down the back straight.

6 min: Glock is the early pacesetter so far, with Barrichello second, Piquet third, Nico Rosberg's first lap puts him fourth, Button fifth, Fisichella sixth and Sutil seventh so far.

Only seven drivers have set a time in the opening few minutes.

6 min: Massa crosses the line with the harder tyre on his Ferrari as he begins his first timed lap of the session.

7 min: Both BMWs, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel have yet to leave the pits.

7 min: Jarno Trulli takes the top spot away from his teammate Glock with a 1:12.228.

8 min: Ahead of Massa on the road is Heikki Kovalainen, who slots in second behind Trulli's Toyota.

Massa's first run gives him third after some understeer in the middle sector.

8 min: Fernando Alonso and the two BMWs remain in the pits with under 12 minutes remaining.

8 min: Lewis Hamilton topples Trulli by a fraction with a 1:12.213 putting the championship leader on top of the order.

9 min: Sebastien Bourdais' latest effort is slow, and places him behind both Force India entries after his first attempt.

Fernando Alonso leaves the pits and joins the track with just over ten minutes to go.

10 min: Kimi Raikkonen slots in fourth with a 1:12.557 effort as he struggled a little for grip on the harder tyre.

10 min: Bourdais goes on for a second lap and improves to 13th position. He is now directly in front of the Force India drivers. Of course this will become the dropzone area once all the drivers have set a time.

11 min: Felipe Massa has improved his time to a 1:12.389 as he runs a series of laps in the Ferrari. He is fourth quickest at the moment.

12 min: Nelson Piquet has taken an impressive third in his Renault with a lap of 1:12.348.

13 min: Fernando Alonso is using the hard tyre for his first flying lap. Very quick first section time for the Spaniard at 18.3 seconds. He loses a little bit of time in the second sector but this looks to be a good lap.

Alonso crosses the line and goes ninth with a 1:12.614.

14 min: Timo Glock spun in turn one, as Fernando Alonso was coming down the hill into turn one - having already completed his fast lap of 1:12.614.

Glock's Toyota is undamaged and the German continues.

15 min: It is a late run for the BMWs, with Robert Kubica taking only 12th on his first effort on the harder tyre.

Teammate Heidfeld goes one better to take 11th.

Both BMWs will probably need better times to be sure of avoiding elimination.

15 min: Rubens Barrichello sets a sensational 1:12.548 to go into eighth place in the Honda. At the moment the Brazilian is looking safe, but there are just over four minutes left in the first period.

16 min: Felipe Massa is out again for another attempt on the harder tyre.

16 min: Massa sets the fastest first sector as he gets his lap underway.

16 min: All 20 drivers have now set a time in period one of qualifying.

Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Giancarlo Fisichella, Sebastien Bourdais and Adrian Sutil are all in the knockout zone and must improve their time or face elimination in the next few minutes.

17 min: Massa is finding some pace in his Ferrari, setting the fastest time of the weekend of 1:11.830 to the delight of the crowd.

17 min: Robert Kubica is just ahead of the dropzone in 15th position and nowhere near safety currently.

The Pole is one of the first to leave the pits for his final run.

18 min: Kimi Raikkonen clocks a 1:12.083 to go second quickest at the moment.

19 min: Kubica has taken a set of soft tyres for his final effort, which needs to be quicker than his current mark.

All the lower order are out on track now as the final laps of first qualifying begin.

19 min: Lewis Hamilton has no need to improve his time and he remains in the McLaren garage, saving tyres and the life of his engine.

19 min: Kubica is fast in the first section and posts a 1:12.381 to move up into seventh place - the Pole should be safe.

20 min: The qualifying period has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

16:20 Adrian Sutil does not improve on 19th and is eliminated.

16:20 Sebastien Bourdais in the Toro Rosso hauls himself up from last to 13th and should make it to the second period.

16:20 Jenson Button improves in time but is 16th and is eliminated from qualifying.

16:21 Both Williams cars have been eliminated, despite soft tyre runs at the end of the period.

16:21 The first period of qualifying has ended. The following drivers have been eliminated:

16) Nakajima
17) Button
18) Rosberg
19) Fisichella
20) Sutil.

16:22 Jenson Button's Honda has stopped on its way back to the pits.

16:23 Button has pulled off on the uphill return to the start/finish straight and has stepped out of the car. This is no major problem for the Briton as he was already eliminated from the session.

16:24 The remaining 15 drivers who have made it through to the next phase will reset, and refocus ahead of the next challenge.

15 drivers will have a minute fight to see who goes through to the top ten shootout.

0 min: The second segment of qualifying is underway.

Both title challengers must make sure they don't slip up in this segment so they get through to the battle for pole.

0 min: Toyota send both Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli straight out onto the circiut.

1 min: Glock is using the soft tyre for his first run and he begins his timed lap now.

2 min: Glock runs very wide at the exit of the Descida de Lago at the end of the back straight early in the lap. His second sector is compromised as a result.

He completes the lap and the time is 1:12.331.

3 min: The pair of Ferraris, Raikkonen and Massa, head out of the pits.

3 min: Jarno Trulli enjoys a better lap than his teammate, and beats Glock with 1:12.107.

3 min: Both Ferraris have the softer tyres on for this Q2 effort.

5 min: Kimi Raikkonen's car is understeering on his flying lap but he still sets a quick time of 1:11.950.

5 min: Both Toyotas return to the pits after one timed lap.

More drivers are joining the fun now, Bourdais, Alonso, Piquet and David Coulthard among them.

5 min: Massa cuts the beam in 1:11.875 to take the best time away from his teammate. The vociferous crowd are once again delighted.

6 min: Lewis Hamilton spoils the party as he sneaks in 19 thousandths of a second quicker than Massa with a lap of 1:11.856.

7 min: Fernando Alonso is extremely quick in secotr one on his first effort in this second phase of qualifying. The Spaniard is using the softer tyre for this run, and he completes the lap in 1:12.090 to go fourth.

7 min: Heikki Kovalainen is the fastest man through the first sector but his middle sector is poor. Despite also being quickest in the last portion of the lap, the Finn slots in fourth.

8 min: The BMW duo of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica are again leaving it late. Neither have left the pits yet with just under seven minutes remaining.

8 min: Kovalainen is leading the speed traps in the first and third sectors, but his downforce level may be a disadvantage in the twisty middle part of the lap.

8 min: The BMWs leave the pits in tandem, as Sebastian Vetel pops up into fifth place, staking a solid claim for a top ten place.

9 min: Timo Glock goes third, splitting the Ferraris with a stunning time - 1:11.908 using soft tyres.

9 min: Kovalainen pits the McLaren and is going to try again on the softer tyres.

Hamilton is wheeled back into the garage and may avoid another run.

11 min: Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld are the last of the 15 drivers in this period to set a time.

Kubica goes 11th with 1:12.300.
Heidfeld goes sixth, much better than Kubica with a lap of 1:12.028.

12 min: Heikki Kovalainen is the fastest man through the first sector and his best middle sector comes together with the quickest final sector. It's a 1:11.738.

Kovalainen tops the session for McLaren and the Finn could play a pivotal role in the battle for pole.

12 min: All 15 drivers have now set a time in the second phase of qualifying.

Sebastien Bourdais, Robert Kubica, Mark Webber, David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello are all in the dropzone with just two minutes remaining.

The times are amazingly close with just four tenths of a second covering the top ten!

13 min: The times are incredibly tight around this short circuit and both Hamilton and Raikkonen are going to try another lap.

Felipe Massa seems content with his time and remains in the pits.

14 min: David Coulthard is the last of the knockout zone drivers to leave the pits with 1:39s remaining. Coulthard will be the last man over the line at the end of the session.

The final attempts are now in progress as the battle for the top ten comes towards its conclusion.

14 min: Kimi Raikkonen fails to improve on his best time, clocking a 1:12.002.

15 min: The qualifying period has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

16:42 Robert Kubica does not improve and is still down in 12th position. Kubica has another lap left if he chooses to complete it.

16:42 Robert Kubica has backed off - eliminated.

16:42 Sebastian Vettel jumps up to second with an impressive 1:11.845 in the Toro Rosso.

16:43 Lewis Hamilton chose not to set a flying lap time, playing it safe by being on track in case he needed to set another time with the field so tight.

16:44 The second period of qualifying has been completed. The following drivers have been eliminated:

11) Piquet
12) Webber
13) Kubica
14) Coulthard
15) Barrichello.

16:45 Fernando Alonso only just made it into the top ten and his final run was slower than his first attempt.

16:47 The ten drivers who have made it through to the top ten shootout will soon sort out who will start from the top positions on the grid for tomorrow's race.

Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa have both made it through safely. Joining them are Heikki Kovalainen, Sebastian Vettel, Timo Glock, Kimi Raikkonen, Nick Heidfeld, Sebastien Bourdais, Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli.

16:48 Excellent performance by Toro Rosso. Vettel's performance we know about, but teammate Sebastien Bourdais also comfortably made it in eighth position on a good day for the team.

0 min: The final part of qualifying is underway, with ten minutes to decide the final pole of 2008.

1 min: With such a short time length per lap, it is no surprise that no-one heads out immediately when the green light came on.

1 min: Timo Glock leaves the pits one minute into the ten that are available.

1 min: Glock is using the harder tyre for his first run.

2 min: Sebastian Vettel joins the circuit in his Toro Rosso.

3 min: Glock crosses the start-finish line and begins the first timed lap. He has the track almost to himself, but suffers oversteer in turn four.

3 min: With over three minutes now elapsed, Felipe Massa leads a pack of cars out of the pits.

3 min: Glock sets the first time of the shootout - 1:14.311.

4 min: Vettel is quicker than Glock on the first lap and leads the table at the moment with a 1:13.155.

4 min: Felipe Massa, using the soft tyres, crosses the start-finish line to begin his first of two attempts as he bids for pole.

5 min: Lewis Hamilton starts his first fying lap, but is two tenths slower than Massa in the first sector.

5 min: Kimi Raikkonen is also now out on the track, as Massa continues his first attempt. Massa is easily quicker than Vettel so far and indeed he goes fastest with a 1:12.453.

6 min: Hamilton has the softer tyre on his McLaren and a light lock up at Bico de Pato only gives him a 1:13.252, behind Vettel's Toro Rosso.

6 min: Kimi Raiikkonen goes second with 1:12.921 to go second, but Jarno Trulli splits the Ferraris with a stunning first run.

7 min: Heikki Kovalainen slots in fourth after setting a 1:13.059.

7 min: Replays show a few moments on Hamilton's lap as he fought the McLaren, now laden with race fuel.

7 min: The order after the first of two runs is Massa, Trulli, Raikkonen, Kovalainen, Vettel, Hamilton.

Massa comes into the pits, takes on more soft tyres and goes again. The crowd is going wild, knowing that their hero has a great shot at the pole.

8 min: The McLarens pit and Lewis heads out for what he must hope to be a better second attempt.

8 min: Massa has protected his soft tyres on the outlap by driving as slow as he can get away with. He crosses the line and starts his final effort.

9 min: Lewis Hamilton is going for a very cautious out-lap as he starts the final tour of the day.

9 min: Felipe Massa is a shade slower than his previous mark at the first sector point.

9 min: Hamilton is within fractions of the Ferrari after the first sector.

10 min: The flag is out but the laps continue ...

17:00 Massa remains 0.039s outside his previous mark at the second sector. He marginally improves and is faster with 1:12.389.

It all comes down to Hamilton ...

17:00 Hamilton goes second with a 1:12.830!

17:00 Kimi Raikkonen snatches second place away from Lewis Hamilton!

17:01 Jarno Trulli splits the Ferraris with a sensational 1:12.737 for second!

Hamilton falls to fourth on the grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

17:02 Heikki Kovalainen could only manage fifth in his McLaren.

17:02 Frelipe Massa claims pole position for tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. The crowd goes crazy and Felipe is ecstatic.

17:03 Felipe Massa takes the cheers of the jubilant crowd as he celebrates an important pole for this vital race.

17:03 Alongside Massa on the front row will be Toyota's Jarno Trulli. Kimi Raikkonen will start third with Lewis Hamilton fourth.

Heikki Kovalainen wound up fifth and Fernando Alonso was sixth in the Renault. Then come Vettel, Heidfeld, Bourdais, and Timo Glock in tenth place in a highly dramatic final qualifying shootout.

17:06 The report and classification is now available after a dramatic session at Interlagos:

Massa grabs Brazil pole, Hamilton fourth

"Let's put it this way: I think Massa will be stopping very, very early and that's a high risk strategy. It doesn't provide for safety car or weather conditions, you know, we looked at all the variables, we fully appreciate that we have some degree of risk in regards of first corner or first lap accidents but to revert to a strategy that light is ... has a higher level of risk.

"Going light introduces a very difficult situation with safety car and if there is any sort of weather interruption in the first part of the race, because you are finished if you are super light. You need to have the ability to stretch your window."
Ron Dennis, McLaren, speaking to German broadcaster Premiere

17:17 Jarno Trulli's sensational front row position will surely be a cause for concern in the McLaren garage, with the Toyota's race pace likely to hold back the field as Felipe Massa escapes at the front.

The slightly jumbled grid sets up a mouthwatering prospect for tomorrow's title decider.

17:19 The weather will also play a part as, throughout the week, varying levels of rain have been forecast for tomorrow.

Look out for the Saturday forecast being published in the next few hours as Live takes a detailed look at the prospects for tomorrow.

Weather Forecasts and Reports

17:23 Looking further down the grid, Fernando Alonso is again strong in the Renault with a sixth-place start and Sebastian Vettel has done well in seventh for Toro Rosso as they defend sixth place in the constructors' championship.

Both are well placed to play a part in the race tomorrow, particularly if it does rain.

17:27 We have just witnessed a fantastic qualifying session for tomorrow's championship-deciding Brazilian Grand Prix.

Felipe Massa blazed to pole position, giving him the best chance possible of winning his home race, and with Lewis Hamilton down in fourth, the grid is mouth-watering.

The first period of qualifying produced some surprising performances. Rubens Barrichello did produce the banzai lap to make it through to the next round at his home race, but it was a disaster for Williams. Both Kazuki Nakajima and Nico Rosberg failed to make the cut, as did Jenson Button who stopped on track following his elimination, and both Force India cars.

The second phase of qualifying saw Robert Kubica fall by the wayside. The Pole was unhappy with the balance of his car earlier this morning - especially under braking. Joining Kubica on the sidelines was another home driver - Nelson Piquet, as well as David Coulthard, Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello.

The top ten drivers proceeded to the final shootout for pole, and what a battle it was. Felipe Massa was supreme, fastest on both the first and second runs, while his championship rival Lewis Hamilton struggled with his fueled McLaren, particularly on his first effort. Massa grabbed the pole by almost four tenths of a second, with Jarno Trulli surprisingly jumping ahead of the other main contenders into a stunning second place. Kimi Raikkonen has backed up his teammate Massa well with third place, leaving Hamilton down in fourth, in traffic and vulnerable to attack on the opening lap.

It is a sensational grid, and one that will have enthusiasts talking and wondering for the next 24 hours about fuel loads - and the title battle.

Tomorrow, the battle of Brazil will be decided. Will it be the home hero or the exciting Briton? Please join us tomorrow from 13:00 GMT here on Live as we build up to the 2008 world championship finale at Interlagos.

Session Length: 60 Minutes
 View official live timing
Sunny High Temp: 22°C / 72°F
Track: Dry
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Monday 27 Oct Start GMT
 Brazilian Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 31 Oct
 Friday Practice 11:30
Saturday 01 Nov
 Final Practice and Qualifying 12:30
Sunday 02 Nov
 Showdown at Interlagos 13:00
Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are's live commentary team. The dynamic duo have developed an inimitable style and a reputation for fast, accurate and insightful commentary. With unrivaled access to events unfolding at the circuit, they bring you the very latest, as it happens.

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