Final qualifying for the 2013 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne has been postponed until Sunday by torrential rain and poor light.
Race Director Charlie Whiting called time on qualifying this morning after just the first knockout round when the heavy rain – and fading light – made it too dangerous to continue the knockout session.
That may have come as a relief to McLaren – who are struggling with their new car – although it can also be argued that the rain levelled the playing field for McLaren, who are finding their MP4-28 car very ‘peaky’ and are reportedly considering a return to last year’s car.
The state of play after just the first round of qualifying saw Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes setting the fastest pace, followed by Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari and Romain Gosjean in the Lotus.
The rest of the top ten in the first session were made up by Sergio Perez (McLaren), Mark Webber (Red Bull), Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Henson Button (McLaren), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).
Notable casualties of the first qualifying session (which almost included Hamilton after he beached his car on the edge of the track in the only qualifying run) include the Williams of Pastor Maldonado and the Sauber driven by new F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez. Both Marussias and both Caterhams also failed to get past the first round of qualifying.
The plan – weather depending – is to run the last two parts of qualifying tomorrow morning at 11am (midnight UK) ahead of the race.