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Qualifying Delayed Until Sunday Morning Due To Rain In Australia
Posted By:   |  16 Mar 2013   |  9:24 am GMT  |  227 comments

The decisive parts of Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix has been postponed until tomorrow morning at 11am Melbourne time (midnight UK time) after heavy rain caused major delays and brought the session to an end following the first phase of qualifying.

It’s an unusual move by the race stewards, but not unprecedented. Qualifying was delayed in the same way at Suzuka twice in the last decade, the last time in 2010. THe forecast is for partly cloudy, and temperatures of 18 degrees.

Having already been delayed by twenty minutes, Q1 got underway in very wet conditions and claimed a number of victims before the session was over, which ended with Nico Rosberg as the pace setter. Both Caterhams and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari lost a front wing, while Lewis Hamilton slid into the barriers but recovered.

The remainder of qualifying will now be run at 11:00am local time on Sunday morning, with the race beginning at 5:00pm.

Q1 saw all the cars take the extreme wet tyre initially, with the Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg setting the first competitive times. However, Hamilton hit troubles at the beginning of his second lap when he spun at the exit of Turn 1 and damaged his rear wing. The Briton was able to continue and make his way in to tomorrow’s second phase.

There was a number of cars that took an excursion in to the Melbourne park, including Felipe Massa who suffered a fairly heavy collision with a barrier. Luckily for him the impact was directly frontal and meant that he only lost a front-wing and did not suffer any further suspension damage.

At the halfway point of Q1 the rain began to ease and the track conditions allowed for intermediate tyres. From that point times rapidly fell with the top spot being swapped between Jenson Button and then Fernando Alonso before Rosberg took the top spot in the final moments.

The second session was repeatedly delayed as the heavy rain returned and Charlie Whiting eventually made the decision to delay the remaining sessions until Sunday morning. With the Australian GP having a late start in order to make it European friendly there was insufficient lighting to further delay the session.

The only drivers’ to know where they will be starting the Grand Prix from is those that found themselves in the drop-zone at the climax of Q1. Pastor Maldonado complained that the Williams was ‘undriveable’, and he will begin the race in 17th place.

Behind him is Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez, the rookie crashing at the same point as Massa whilst he was on a quicker lap.

The final two rows of the grid are to be filled by the Marussia and Caterham pairings, with Marussia claiming the bragging rights. Both Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton were able to bring their cars home safely, whilst the same could not be said for Giedo Van Der Garde and Charles Pic. They each lost a front-wing during the twenty minute session and will start alongside each other on the final row of the grid.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

(assuming no crash at the first corner)!


As the saying goes, “let’s get it on!” Hamilton, Massa, Vettel for the podium. Weber 4th, then Alonso. DiResta gets a top 10 finish.


My advice to TV viewers…get a DVR. Watching anything live is so 1990s! Here in the US all races except 2 are broadcast at inconvenient times.

To those that actually go to the track , you should expect decisions like starting time or postponing qualifying to favor the Tv audience. F1 is a becoming a TV sport.


Its easy to sit at home watching on tv, or in the stands at a track & say ‘they could race in this’, However its impossible to understand just what its like to drive a race car in those sort of conditions unless you have actually done it.

I had a friend a few years back who would always complain about rain delays & safety car’s in the rain, Just like many here are doing now.

However he then decided to start racing himself & after his 1st run in the rain he phoned me up & said that he now fully understood why they are as cautious as they are, He called it the most terrifying thing he’d ever been through.


When did the rules change allowing one to reverse back on to the RACE TRACK as LH obviously did? Surely there should be a sanction for this..

Any thoughts on this James??


I thought the same when I saw this. Although I think a strong argument could be made that his car was in a dangerous locations, marshals would be in serious jeopardy trying to recover it and so reversing was the safest option.


Watched the coverage by OneHd for most of yesterday.

Helmut never left Vettels garage.

Did James really ask Horner why Vettels car is always faster than Webbers ? If so, balsey move James.

Good work.

Gee the coverage, camera work etc is the best ive seen for any GP. The slow-mos are awesome.


Yes, it was a joke question, to get him in the mood!


horner should of said, if vettel was in webbers car that would always be faster.


Here’s the live Melbourne weather radar loop, not looking great right now, could be more excitement to come today!


James, is this one of the first times qualifying has been postponed having already started? At Suzuka 2010 and 2004 the whole session was held on sunday.

Anyway, for that reason I’m just wondering what the rules would have been if someone had an incident on track but had still finished qualified for Q2. Would the team be able to fix the car and do Q2 tomorrow if the car couldn’t be driven back to the pits?

If I’m not mistaken when it happens under normal conditions the car isn’t returned between the Q3-Q2 gap.

Ernesto De Puesto

F1 has become a joke when it comes to safety car use and race/qualification suspension and cancellation due to rain or other minor annoyances. There has been many incidents in recent years where fans and drivers have been cheated out of exciting races (rain) or well-deserved results (excessive use of safety car to bunch up the field).

I personally am really starting to get sick of it and my estimation of F1 has therefore slowly dropped in recent years.


Yes but safety has to come first.

Ernesto De Puesto

The safety standards are already insanely hight compared to only a few decades ago and the few remaining issues that need tackling (like putting some protection in place to prevent tires or debris from hitting drivers’ heads) are not being pursued as quickly as they should be for what I would guess are marketing reasons (as in, it might look bad).

Also in the situations I had in mind it was rather debateable whether the safety car use was really for safety (considering that tires are cooling to a dangerous level and drivers tend to warm them up by breaking abruptly, leading to several crashes or near-crashes under the very safety car supposedly protecting said drivers) or was used as a means to “spice up” the race by closing gaps, which in my personal opinion would be against everything F1 should stand for.

So I agree safety has to come first, I do think however we the fans are having the wool pulled over our eyes with the usage of that word to disguise other agendas I personally disagree with – which is what led to my original comment.


It wasn’t so much the rainfall that caused the postponement of qually but the amount of standing water on the circuit.

Even though it is disappointing for us driver safety must be paramount.


If there is rain, just drive slowly and more carefully. That it.

for Safety reason, with heavy rain, I haven’t see the big crash in rain. Everyone drive slower and careful to get the corner. There might be some spin or hit the wall, but not dangerously hard.

With light rain and inter tyre, there are more danger than full wet, car run faster, turn faster, if there is mistake, they hit the wall harder.

Big crash mostly happen when the track is dry or partly wet, as the driver is less careful.

No matter how heavy the rain is, if there are no flood on track. There is no undriveable, just drive slower, 3 minute per lap is OK, everyone drive in the same environment, no one get advantage of the condition.

If someone can drive with Inter and faster than full wet, . . . does that mean undriveable. If the car can’t turn at all at any speed, that call Undriveable . . . but not as today.


“If there is rain, just drive slowly and more carefully. That it.”

Not that simple.

You can be driving ridiculously slowly & super cautiously & still get thrown off the track when going through standing water.

Biggest problem with standing water & especially when you have water flowing across the track is that its totally unpredictable in terms of what the car will do when you run through it. One lap you can go through without issue & then the next it can suddenly throw you off track even if you do nothing different.


With no spare car, nobody will want a big smash in qualifying now.


All I can say is Fuji 07 or Adelaide 89. F1 used to do it, and in that eighties’ example on a street track I’ll put money on, that the tyres were worse and the cars had less downforce.

Stop stopping the sessions please.


And look what happened at Adelaide in ’89.

Most the driver didn’t want the race to go ahead, Alain Prost pulled out at the end of the 1st lap, Cars were spinning off in the middle of the straghts & Senna drove into the back of Martin Brundle on a straght because he couldn’t see him, Nelson Piquer was nearly killed by driving into the back of/under another car & having his helmet make contact with the bottom of that car & 18 drivers retired all but 4 because of spins/accidents.

Conditions at Fuji 2007 were not as bad (After the SC delay) because track drainage was pretty good so standing water cleared very quickly (Quicker than expected actually).


I live in Europe and I’d always much rather stay up late on Friday night and Saturday night, even to 4-5am morning the next day, then getting up at 5am on Saturday and Sunday. Who the hell is waking up at 5am if they are not an F1 fan?

And if they are an F1 fan, they will surely want to watch practice sessions too, so there’s no point really sleeping before quali either.

Total mess. Why can’t they move all the sessions to start much earlier in the day, than much later.

First off all, I wouldn’t mind it being at any time of day or night, but if they really want to move it towards Europe, I’d rather have it after midnight than waking up at 6am on a weekend.


It rains even in Australia! Mr. Ecclestone, please move the 1st race of the season to the damn desert of Abu dhabi or Bahrain.

Tornillo Amarillo

Did you see the McLaren Electronic Systems could really, really be called a “MESS”?


I have to agree with many of the comments here. It is rather frustrating to have to wait till tomorrow to find out what the full grid will look like. I am not any kind of expert in this, but I thought that qualifications could have gone on. I understand that safety is critical, the better safe than sorry philosophy. Still, I don’t know that any driver thought the conditions were so bad today. They should know right? Marc


In rain, it’s not good to go out first… Hamilton was clearing the water for Rosberg, which is probably why he was faster.

Still, Rosberg did well in the first battle…

Lets see how the war progresses…


This is going to be an exciting season for sure!

It’s going to be make or break for either Lewis or Nico.

Same with Felipe.

Lets see if Jenson can win a race this season… Looks tough

Critical one for RG as well – however my gut says he is going to make it work..

Imagine Sutil beating Nico H! Feel bad for Nico H – he deserves a top drive, more than SP

Podium prediction – Seb, Fernando & Nico R – if no car failure & whichever order…


What are the rules on repairing the damaged cars?

Normally Mercedes wouldn’t have a lot of time to replace rear wing (not as quick as a front wing change) but I guess Hamilton will start Q2 with a new one – is that correct?

Also, if Guttierez had been in the top 16, would he have been allowed out in Q2?


Yes and yes

Tornillo Amarillo

Nice to be awake in North America from 2 AM to 4 AM for nothing!

Maybe it wasn’t the rain, but an electric outage for broadcaster as some people are saying, I cannot imagine F1 drivers not doing it on the wet. Maybe we can say the painting on the track lines was not correct (slippery). You’ll never know the true, but you have to keep moving anyway.

Do you remember yesterday I was talking about ROSBERG, ROSBERG and ROSBERG?

Well is ROSBERG who tops the qualy in the wet, not to bad eh?


Are all cars in parc ferme conditions till the end of the race?

Those with wet weather set-ups will look rather silly if it’s bone dry tomorrow?

F1 shouldn’t be such a lottery.


I think a night race like Singapore would be a nice solution for us European viewers!


Too bad the techno-geniuses in F1 can’t come up with a new high-tech way for the boys to see where they’re going.

Y’know, like some big-A lights on the front? or FLIR? We could call them “headlights!”

No, that would be too… “relevant!”

Can’t do anything “relevant” to road cars or the FIA’s Road Safety blitz.

Nope. Can’t be “relevant” unless its “green!”

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!


Headlights would be cool. Bang an extra seat in and they could race at Le Mans too.


Hopefully the track will be nice and dry on Sunday. Mercedes looking strong in the dry and the wet is a comforting reality. Wins and podiums may be in the offing.

White lines painted black sounds like a rock band. Maybe they should add some grit to the paint. It must be a pain for the drivers to have invisible road hazards.

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