Qualifying postponement backed by teams
16 March 2013 – The majority of the Formula 1 field spoke of their approval after qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix was postponed until Sunday morning, with weather conditions worsening and light fading at the Melbourne venue this afternoon.
The second and third phases of qualifying will now take place at 11am local time (GMT +11), with teams and drivers backing the decision on safety grounds.
"It is a shame because of the weather, but absolutely the right decision was made to stop qualifying and postpone it until tomorrow," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. "The conditions were deteriorating too quickly with the daylight and too much standing water. Hopefully it will blow through and we will be back in the morning."
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who was almost forced out of the opening session after a dramatic spin between Turns 1 and 2, explained that it was 'like driving on ice' in certain areas of the street circuit.
"It was dangerous out there," said the 2008 World Champion. "This track is incredibly dangerous with the black paint that it has, covering the old existing white paint. It’s like driving on ice through those parts."
Former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button says although he felt sorry for the fans that sat in the rain for the duration of the session, a delay was ultimately the only option.
"I feel sorry for the fans more than anything else," he said. "They’ve stayed here when it’s been chucking it down with rain and we haven’t given them the show we should have done. But it’s not really our fault as the conditions are pretty bad out there.
"It seems that every time we go to run it gets really, really bad. It’s sad that we’ve got to move it to tomorrow but hopefully it will be a lot of fun and we’ll put on a good show for the fans."
FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting believes the new morning slot is a satisfactory compromise, and has not received any thoughts from team bosses to suggest otherwise.
"I’ve not heard any complaints, so I’ll take that as a yes," Whiting explained when asked if the teams and drivers were happy with the decision. "The stewards are the ultimate decision makers in this case but we asked them to come and have a chat.
"Based on the fact that there was more heavy rain imminent and the light was fading, they decided to abandon the session today and put everyone out of their misery."