Amid torrential monsoon-like conditions, qualifying for the weekend’s Australian Grand Prix was called off after just the first knockout session had been completed.
Officials decided the event was becoming too dangerous to continue as several drivers lost control and narrowly avoided heavy accidents, including Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
While the 2008 World Champion struggled in the challenging conditions, his team-mate Nico Rosberg was flying and ended Q1 fastest of all on a 1:43:380. Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean were some way behind, with a 1:43:850 and 1:44:284 respectively.
The rain seemed to ease some of McLaren’s woes and new recruit Sergio Perez set the 4th fastest time, with Jenson Button 0.3 behind in 8th. In between them were Mark Webber, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel who managed to make it out on to the track despite a hydraulic failure in FP3. Jean Eric Vergne again demonstrated some considerable wet-weather skills to post the 9th fastest time, with Hamilton down in 10th after almost becoming beached on a kerb after spinning.
The drivers knocked out were Williams’ Pastor Maldonado, Sauber rookie Esteban Gutierrez, ahead of the Marussia’s of Bianchi and Chilton who out qualified Charles Pic and Diego Van Der Garde in the Caterham cars.
Qualifying has been re-scheduled for Sunday morning and will take place at 00:00 GMT UK time.