Rain delays Aus GP qualifying

Mar 17, 2013, 02:03 IST | AFP

Race officials postponed the final two sessions of qualifying at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix until today's race day after heavy rain led to treacherous track conditions.

Only the first session was finished at the sodden Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne with the start of the second session delayed twice before officials abandoned attempts to complete qualifying for grid positions.

Track marshals sweep the wet Melbourne track on Saturday. Pic/AFP

Steady rain made for chaotic driving conditions in the first 20-minute session before the six slowest drivers were eliminated, leaving 16 drivers to continue to the second session.

But drivers sat in their garages in the pit lane waiting for the rain to ease before the decision came to postpone qualifying. The second session will start six hours before the race gets under way.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was quickest in the challenging first session in a time of 1min 43.380sec. Last season’s championship runner-up Fernando Alonso in a Ferrari was second (1:43.850) ahead of French Lotus driver Romain Grosjean (1:44.284).

It was a lottery in the conditions, with several drivers, including Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton losing control on the greasy track.

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