Australian GP: Qualifying postponed to Sunday morning
|By Matt Beer||Saturday, March 16th 2013, 07:51 GMT|
Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix will be postponed until 11am local time on Sunday morning due to heavy rain showers in Melbourne.
A delayed Q1 managed to take place, but the start of Q2 was repeatedly put back due to the weather conditions.
The decision to postpone the rest of the session was finally taken nearly two hours after qualifying had begun.
The situation was complicated by further showers being forecast, so that even if the track improved, the likelihood was that the rain would immediately return.
Looming sunset added a further pressure, with little daylight left to fit in Q2 and Q3.
Nico Rosberg had been quickest in Q1 for Mercedes, which got its cars out first at the start of the session.
This meant Rosberg spent a long while on top, although he had to fight to get the position back again after everyone switched to intermediates with five minutes to go.
His team-mate Lewis Hamilton spun at Turn 2, sustaining minor rear wing damage as he nudged the barriers. Briefly stranded on the sodden grass, he eventually managed to reverse back onto the track.
That was one of many incidents during the running that did take place.
Felipe Massa and both Caterhams had to limp back to the pits minus front wings after spinning into the barriers.
Esteban Gutierrez had a similar incident but ended up stranded on track in a damaged Sauber. That left him 18th on the grid, just behind a frustrated Pastor Maldonado.
Jules Bianchi led the rest of the rear pack in his Marussia, with the crashing Caterhams at the very back.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m43.380s 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m43.850s + 0.470s 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1m44.284s + 0.904s 4. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.300s + 0.920s 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m44.472s + 1.092s 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m44.635s + 1.255s 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m44.657s + 1.277s 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.688s + 1.308s 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.871s + 1.491s 10. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m45.456s + 2.076s 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m45.545s + 2.165s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m45.601s + 2.221s 13. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m45.930s + 2.550s 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m46.450s + 3.070s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m47.328s + 3.948s 16. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m47.330s + 3.950s17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m47.614s + 4.234s 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m47.776s + 4.396s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.147s + 4.767s 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.909s + 5.529s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m49.519s + 6.139s 22. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m50.626s + 7.246s 107% time: 1m50.616s
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