Nico Rosberg was quickest in the opening phase of qualifying before the continual wet weather forced the rest of the session to be postponed

Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix has been postponed until Sunday morning after persistent rain and fading light forced the FIA to suspend further running at the end of the first twenty-minute phase of qualifying.

With the action set to get underway at 5:00pm local time, the start of Q1 was delayed and after several drivers crashed out in the treacherous conditions, the second part of qualifying was repeatedly delayed while circuit officials worked frantically to dry and sweep away large areas of standing water.

Eventually, some two hours after the scheduled start time, the session was abandoned entirely as the weather and light conditions deteriorated with the persistent showers and strong wind gusts making conditions impossible.

The outcome was bitterly disappointing for the large crowds who had flocked to the circuit, with many electing to leave before qualifying even began due to the lack of weatherproof shelter, with general admission ticketholders particularly worse off.

Nico Rosberg ultimately proved quickest at the end of the first twenty-minute session, which was littered with crashes and incidents for other runners.

Rosberg’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton was one of the high-profile victims, spinning his Mercedes backwards into the Turn 2 barriers and sustaining minor damage to his rear wing.

Felipe Massa was another driver to come to grief with front-end damage to his Ferrari, while both Caterham runners, Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, ripped the front wings from their cars after they also crashed during the session.

Sauber rookie Esteban Gutierrez was the final runner to crash out, badly damaging the front end of his Sauber with a copycat of Massa’s crash at the Turn 11-12 sweeper.

The crash ensured that Mexican was unable to escape the bottom-six, and he will take no further part in qualifying when it resumes tomorrow.

Also joining him in the drop zone was a frustrated Pastor Maldonado, who declared his Williams undriveable on the soaking conditions.

Predictably, neither of the Marussia and Caterham runners made it into Q2, with Pic narrowly failing to post a time within 107% of Rosberg’s ultimate pace-setting effort.

2013 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Preliminary Qualifying Session Times:

Driver Team Q1 Time Gap
1. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:43.380
2. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:43.850 + 0.470
3. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:44.284 + 0.904
4. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:44.300 + 0.920
5. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:44.472 + 1.092
6. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:44.635 + 1.255
7. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:44.657 + 1.277
8. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:44.688 + 1.308
9. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:44.871 + 1.491
10. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:45.456 + 2.076
11. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:45.545 + 2.165
12. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:45.601 + 2.221
13. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:45.930 + 2.550
14. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:46.450 + 3.070
15. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:47.328 + 3.948
16. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:47.330 + 3.950
Q2 Cut-Off – 1:47.330   Time Gap
17. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:47.614 + 4.234
18. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:47.776 + 4.396
19. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth MR02 1:48.147 + 4.767
20. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Racing Cosworth MR02 1:48.909 + 5.529
21. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:49.519 + 6.139
107% Cut-Off – 1:50.616   Time Gap
NQ. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:50.626 + 7.246

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.