Heavy Rain Suspends Melbourne Qualifying Until Sunday

Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix will resume at 11am on Sunday morning (midnight UK time) after torrential rain meant only Q1 was able to take place. Nico Rosberg set the quickest time in the tricky conditions which greeted the drivers for Q1 but that was the last of the action as the rain intensified and the daylight faded.

Q1 had already been delayed by twenty minutes and the drivers were scrambling for grip from the get-go. Lewis Hamilton was fortunate to avoid being beached after backing into the wall at turn two but nowhere near as lucky as Felipe Massa who ploughed into the tyre barrier at turn twelve, escaping with no more than front wing damage.

Conditions were changing so rapidly that Jenson Button and Paul Di Resta dived in for intermediates six minutes from time but the tarmac was still slippery enough to send Charles Pic and Esteban Gutierrez into session-ending accidents. Nico Rosberg’s 1:43.380 had put him fastest from Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez with the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel fifth and seventh. Both drivers are unlikely to be too disappointed by the postponement as Sunday qualifying gives them a chance to unleash their prodigious pace in the dry.

The subsequent yellow flags left Pastor Maldonado stranded in seventeenth with Gutierrez joining him in the drop zone. The Marussias and Caterhams were also knocked out with Jules Bianchi winning the mini-race at the back of the grid. He will start nineteenth with teammate Max Chilton alongside while the Caterhams of Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic make up the back row.


2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix
Qualifying Classification (Q1) – Q2 will start at 11:00am local time on Sunday)
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1  Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:43.380 11
2  Fernando Alonso Ferrari +0.470 10
3  Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault +0.904 10
4  Sergio Perez McLaren Mercedes +0.920 10
5  Mark Webber Red Bull Racing Renault +1.092 10
6  Felipe Massa Ferrari +1.255 8
7  Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing Renault +1.277 11
8  Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes +1.308 10
9  Jean-Eric Vergne STR Ferrari +1.491 10
10  Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +2.076 12
11  Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault +2.165 11
12  Paul Di Resta Force India Mercedes +2.221 10
13  Nico Hulkenberg Sauber Ferrari +2.550 10
14  Daniel Ricciardo STR Ferrari +3.070 10
15  Valtteri Bottas Williams Renault +3.948 10
16  Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes +3.950 10
Eliminated In Q1 (P16: SUT – 1:47.330)
17  Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 1:47.614 11
18  Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari 1:47.776 10
19  Jules Bianchi Marussia Cosworth 1:48.147 11
20  Max Chilton Marussia Cosworth 1:48.909 11
21  Giedo van der Garde Caterham Renault 1:49.519 11
Q1 107% Time: 1:50.616
22  Charles Pic Caterham Renault 1:50.626 10