Qualifying delayed until Sunday morning
16 March 2013 – Qualifying at Albert Park has been postponed until race day amid persistent rainfall, with Q2 and Q3 yet to run. The start of the second grid-deciding phase had been put back on numerous occasions until the looming sunset forced a delay, with the action set to resume at 11am local time (GMT +11) tomorrow morning.
Saturday's opening qualifying session was disrupted before the action had even begun, with race control announcing a trio of ten minute delays following heavy rain showers. Once the action got underway and after a number of lead changes, Nico Rosberg set the initial pace to end Q1 four tenths ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
There were a number of incidents during the session, with Lewis Hamilton narrowly avoiding a premature exit after spinning between Turns 1 and 2. Felipe Massa and Giedo van der Garde also suffered early troubles, losing their respective front wings after contact with the barriers. The biggest drama came in the late stages, however, when Charles Pic and Esteban Gutiérrez crashed in the second sector at almost the same moment, bringing out the yellow flags and effectively ending the session early.
After Q1, in which Pastor Maldonado, Gutiérrez, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton, Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic were eliminated from the running, there was a wait of around two hours before race control ultimately decided to halt proceedings. Increasing showers and the upcoming sunset ultimately posed too much of an issue.
The last time Formula 1 witnessed a qualifying delay was at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2010, when monsoon conditions hit Suzuka and forced the track to be closed.
Sunday's delayed qualifying session in Melbourne gets underway at 11am local time (GMT +11) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net Live Report feature