MELBOURNE, Australia – The final two stages of qualifying for the Formula One Australian Grand Prix have been postponed until Sunday due to heavy rain at Albert Park.
The first part of qualifying – Q1 – had taken place after a delayed start, but with the rain still falling and daylight fading, race stewards decided to move Q2 and Q3 to Sunday morning.
The weather appeared to be at its worst after a downpour before the start of Q1, forcing three delays of 10 minutes before finally Lewis Hamilton led the wet-shod field out. Hamilton’s fastest time was quickly eclipsed by Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, and then the Briton spun and lightly damaged his car’s rear wing.
Rosberg continued to set the pace, fighting with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, as conditions improved steadily.
McLaren’s Jenson Button was the first to switch to intermediate Pirellis, with five minutes to go, and quickly went fastest, but was soon pushed down by Alonso and then Rosberg, who eventually set the best lap of the scrappy session with 1:43.380.
Several drivers, including Felipe Massa, Mark Webber, Paul di Resta, Giedo van der Garde, Charlies Pic, Esteban Guterriez and Pastor Maldonado, had various issues throughout the session.
The last time qualifying was postponed to Sunday was in Suzuka in 2010 when qualifying in its entirety was delayed from Saturday to Sunday.