Not so fast: qualifying postponed
Originally posted at MichaelLamonato.com
Qualifying for the 2013 Australian Grand Prix has been postponed until Sunday after rain lashed the track, making the circuit undriveable.While Q1 was run this afternoon Q2 and Q3 have been shifted to 11AM tomorrow morning, with the race to go ahead at 5PM.The FIA pushed Q2 further into the evening in hope the rain would subside, but the fast-dimming light meant that the track would be too dark to continue regardless of the standing water.The weather bore down on Albert Park early in the afternoon, affecting mot of FP3, and continued to soak the circuit for the two hours before qualifying.For what was to be a highly anticipated session, Melbourne managed to keep the world in suspense for an extra thirty minutes while the FIA allowed the track to dry before giving qualifying the green light.Chaos ensued, with every car hitting the track within the first sixty seconds, each hoping to set a time early in fear the rain would return and end the afternoon early.The flurry of activity caught out a few with Giedo van der Garde the first casualty, losing control of his car in the mist and breaking the car’s nose.Hamilton almost joined him, temporarily beaching his car by the side of the road. He managed to find traction in reverse and rejoined the track after a brief delay.Massa perhaps provided the most spectacular incident, hitting the wall hard enough to send him into a series of pirouettes. He returned to the pits, but the front of the car carried some damage.Maldonado went off at turn 12 and was swooped at by a seagull.Button and di Resta were the first men onto intermediate tyres just after the halfway point. Button pulled his underperforming McLaren up the order, while di Rest lost his car over the grass at turn 11.The order began to settle and lap times slowly began to fall when Charles Pic and Esteban Gutierrez both lost control of their cars and wrote of their front ends, with the result for the former missing the 107 per cent cut off time.Caterham will now apply for compensation to enter Pic into the race.It was a disappointing afternoon for Caterham with Giedo van de Garde qualifying just one place higher, the team outperformed by both Marussias who occupy the next row up the grid, led by Jules Bianchi.The two midfield cars to be eliminated belonged to Esteban Gutierrez and Pastor Maldonado, who will start from P18 and P17 respectively.Maldonado was particularly frustrated with his car, labelling it “undriveable” after qualifying and likening it to the disastrous 2011 Williams.Technical director Mike Coughlan admitted the team had moved backwards since the pre-season, and revealed the car will be reverting to a pre-Australia specification in an aattempt to rediscover that pace.Further delays were called upon after Q1, with the FIA not satisfied the track was safe, with persistent rain drenching the track during the short Q1/Q2 break.However, upon reaching the revised Q2 starting time of 6:50PM, the light was declared too low to continue, and the session postponed.Qualifying resumes at 11AM AEDT tomorrow morning.