Update:Fromula 1 - Australian Grand Prix
[url=http://www.formula1.com/news/]Formula1.com[/url] For more news and stories
[url=http://188.8.131.52/f1-championship/f1-2013/f1-2013-01/Qualifying%20Session%20Interim%20Classification.pdf]fia.com[/url]: Interim Classifications - Q1
[b]Qualifying in Australia postponed until Sunday[/b]
The final two stages of qualifying for the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix have been postponed until Sunday due to heavy rain at the Albert Park circuit.
The first part of qualifying - Q1 - had taken place after a delayed start, but with the rain still falling and daylight fading, race stewards decided to move Q2 and Q3 until 1100 hours local time on Sunday morning.
The weather appeared to be at its worst after a downpour before the start of Q1, forcing three delays of 10 minutes before finally Lewis Hamilton led the wet-shod field out. HamiltonÔÇÖs fastest time was quickly eclipsed by Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, and then the Briton spun and lightly damaged his carÔÇÖs rear wing.
Rosberg continued to set the pace, fighting with Red BullÔÇÖs Sebastian Vettel, FerrariÔÇÖs Fernando Alonso and Toro RossoÔÇÖs Jean-Eric Vergne, as conditions improved steadily.
McLarenÔÇÖs Jenson Button was the first to switch to intermediate Pirellis, with five minutes to go, and quickly went fastest, but was soon pushed down by Alonso and then Rosberg, who eventually set the best lap of the scrappy session with 1m 43.380s.
Many drivers had adventures, among them FerrariÔÇÖs Felipe Massa, who took off his front wing when he spun and hit a wall, Red BullÔÇÖs Mark Webber and Force IndiaÔÇÖs Paul di Resta who went grass cutting, and McLarenÔÇÖs Sergio Perez who got away with a big spin. Both Caterham racers - Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic - lost a front wing apiece, Esteban Guterriez, who did likewise in his Sauber after putting a rear wheel over a wet kerb, and WilliamsÔÇÖ Pastor Maldonado who went off-roading and nearly took out an unsuspecting seagull.
Maldonado was the first faller, qualifying 17th in 1m 47.614s, followed by Gutierrez on 1m 47.776s, Jules Bianchi with a solid 1m 48.147s for Marussia and his team mate Max Chilton, who looked good with 1m 48.909s. Van der Garde had another spin, this time without damage, and didnÔÇÖt better 1m 49.519s, while Caterham team mate Pic was last on 1m 50.626s.
As the rain returned there was another 10 minute delay before the start of Q2, which was extended until 1830 hours local time. Then until 1850. Sunset was due at 1938 and eventually, as 1850 came and went, the FIA decided the only recourse was to postpone Q2 and Q3 until Sunday morning, when they will be run, conditions allowing.
The last time this happened was in Suzuka in 2010, when the whole of qualifying was delayed from Saturday to Sunday. The Melbourne race will still start, as expected, at 1700 hours local time on Sunday afternoon.
Update: Australian Grand Prix - Sunday qualifying
Vettel and Webber on the front row. Massa pips Alonso and takes P4 along side Hamilton in P3.
[url=http://184.108.40.206/f1-championship/f1-2013/f1-2013-01/Qualifying%20Session%20Best%20Sector%20Times.pdf]Best Sector Times[/url]
Vettlel storms to Sunday pole in Australia
Formula One racing found itself in a hurry up and wait situation after the weather intervened before qualifying in Albert Park on Saturday afternoon, necessitating a postponement of Q2 and Q3 until 1100 hours local time on Sunday morning.
The conditions were much better then, though early morning showers had left the track still damp in places and everyone started out on PirelliÔÇÖs intermediates.
Only the McLaren drivers opted partway through Q2 for the supersofts. Jenson Button quickly took the decision to switch back to intermediates and grabbed the fourth-fastest time behind the flying Nico Rosberg who lapped in 1m 36.194s for Mercedes, Red BullÔÇÖs Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes, but McLarenÔÇÖs Sergio Perez was an unhappy 15th after electing to stay on the supersoft tyres.
Nico Hulkenberg was the first who failed to make Q3, lapping his Sauber in 1m 38.067s to head Force IndiaÔÇÖs Adrian Sutil on 1m 38.134s, the Toro Rossos of Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 38.778s and Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 39.042s, Perez on 1m 39.900s and Valtteri BottasÔÇÖs Williams on 1m 40.290s.
Q3 saw the best conditions yet in the prolonged qualifying session, and after everyone bar Button had done reconnaissance laps on intermediates, they switched to supersofts. Button had them from the start. Hamilton set the early pace from Rosberg, before Red BullÔÇÖs Sebastian Vettel stamped his authority by a whole second in their first runs on the inters.
Hamilton was again the pacesetter on the second runs, with 1m 29.184s which dislodged ButtonÔÇÖs out-of-sequence first suspersoft run of 1m 32.485s, but soon Vettel was there again with an utterly dominant lap of 1m 27.407s. Red BullÔÇÖs Mark Webber got closest to that with 1m 27.827s, as Hamilton improved to 1m 28.087s for third.
A late improvement from FerrariÔÇÖs Fernando Alonso to 1m 28.493s appeared to have won him fourth place, but then team mate Felipe Massa slipped in with 1m 28.490s to snatch the place. After his earlier speed Rosberg disappointed with only 1m 28.523s for sixth.
The Lotuses were seventh and eighth, Kimi Raikkonen spinning before recording 1m 28.738s, and Romain Grosjean backing him with 1m 29.013s. Force IndiaÔÇÖs Paul di Resta bettered Button, with 1m 29.305s, as the Englishman improved on his second run for McLaren to 1m 30.357s.
Thus, when combined with the Q1 results of Saturday, the grid will form up as: Vettel, Webber; Hamilton, Massa; Alonso, Rosberg; Raikkonen, Grosjean; Di Resta, Button; Hulkenberg, Sutil; Vergne, Ricciardo; Perez, Bottas; WilliamsÔÇÖ Pastor Maldonado, SauberÔÇÖs Esteban Gutierrez; MarussiaÔÇÖs Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton in the other Marussia and Caterham team mates Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic, who was the only man to miss the 107 percent requirement and hence races at the stewards' discretion.
Update: Formula 1 - Australian GP Race Results
[url=http://www.fia.com/championship/fia-formula-1-world-championship/2013/2013-australian-grand-prix-event-information]fia.com[/url]: Australian Grand Prix Event Information - Timing Results.
FWIW: Sorry its late and I donÔÇÖt have my wits about me anymore.
Race Notes Summary - 2013 Australian GP.
P1: Kimi Raikkonen | Lotus
P2: Fernando Alonso | Ferrari
P3: Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull
The Iceman Commeth
Kimi Raikkonen took the 2013 Australian Grand Prix with a strong showing on his part and a two stop strategy. P2 for Alonso and his Ferrari with Vettel and Red Bull in P3. Massa took P4. He might have finished higher but pit stop timing combined with Force IndiaÔÇÖs not as successful two stop race held him back.
The lights turned green for the race with Vettel on pole and leading the field into turn one. As the field cleared turn 3 he was in the lead but his teammate had dropped back to P6 and the the FerrariÔÇÖs of Massa and Alonso were hot his heels. Massa would press Vettel for the first round. Vettel pitted on lap 8 and Massa on lap 10 then traded fast laps until Raikkonen woke up and turned in one himself.
At this point it started becoming clear that Lotus had Raikkonen on a two stop strategy while the rest of the field were on three or more stops.
Rosberg took the lead for Mercedes very briefly pitting on lap 15 and turning the lead over to Sutil in his Force India debut. Force India had Sutil on a two stop strategy like Lotus but not with the same quality of car.
Over the term of the race Sutil was able to take advantage of the strategy to lead many laps; however, the sense was the Force India car was assuming the Mercedes role of a slow fighter holding up the field and bunching it up a bit in the process. The result appeared to be that when he would pit they could not take full advantage of it. He took on super softs for his final set of tyres and they did not work well for him at all.
Raikkonen, on the other hand, was able to fully take advantage of the two stop strategy. When the final round of stops were complete for everyone he was in the lead and the only question was would he be able to manage his tyres and hold off the competition.
In the closing laps Alonso pressed at a couple of points. with 53 of 58 complete he went green (personal best time) in a couple of sectors and taking a second off the FinnÔÇÖs lead. Could he continue to do that? In the next few laps Raikkonen, depending on how you want to spin it, woke up or closed the door. Either way by lap 55 he opened the lead up to 8.3 seconds and when the lap was done he set a new fast lap to put an exclamation point on it.
There was a sense of frenzy during Race 1 of the Phillip Island opener of World Superbike. I sensed it watching live timing and others watching the race live reported the same sense too. Race two the riders were much more controlled while remaining aggressive.
Controlled verging on cautious is the sense I had ÔÇÿwatching the race on live timing. There were passes and trading of fast laps but the feeling was one of being very happy to drive within personal limits and those of the car.
Raikkonen and Lotus made me look pretty smart. I continue to believe the combination is in a sweet spot that could lead to a championship title for both. Teammate Grosjean did not do damage to anyone on the track or much on the final grid with his P10. He needs to repeat the former while improving the latter.
The Ferrari opens the season with strong pace. I get no sense of what the team orders are for the season, so watch for that as a theme as you read race reports. Massa finishing behind Alonso, at least to my eye, had more to do with Sutil and timing of the Ferrari pit stops in relation to Sutil than with team orders. A good result for Alonso and for my money a very strong showing from Massa.
Clearly Red Bull, like Ferrari open the season showing strong pace. Webber had a horrible start that put him out of sync to finish higher. I am left to wonder what was going on in VettelÔÇÖs head. He and Red Bull seemed very willing to drive well within his limits. Australia has bitten him in the past. Was this P3 an exercise in sandbagging or wisdom?
Not a good day for Mercedes. Rosberg parked his car just before the halfway point. While Massa was comfortable motoring home 33.5 seconds behind the winner Hamilton was fighting for his life. He crossed the line 45.5 seconds after Raikkonen and barely a second ahead of Webber whom he had been holding off in the closing laps.
McLaren had even a worse day compounding the Mercedes engine embarrassment. Button was a quiet P9. I will admit I am not up to speed with tracking a race on live timing, yet the only mention I can find of Button in my notes is some chatter with the pits reporting light rain on the track after the halfway mark. Perez wanted a podium but coming home 83.3 seconds after P1 and 1.7 seconds behind Button wonÔÇÖt secure that for him. A dismal day for McLaren.
Button, Grosjean, Perez and Vergne were knotted up with 2.2 seconds measuring the spread at the end. There will be many races within the race to watch over the season. For fans this will be fun if TV directors show it. But two McLarens and a Lotus should not be fighting a Toro Rosso for P9 and 10.
The rest of the field did not cause an Australian GP disaster. P 11-17 were filled with lapped drivers who read and understood the blue flag rules.
Nico Hulkenberg did not make his debut for Sauber. Fuel system problems resulted in a pitlane scratch. I was looking for him to pick up where Perez and Kobayashi had left off last season for Sauber. Gutierrez was only able to manage a P12 one lap down for the Swiss team.
Maldonado had a couple off road excursions. The first was putting a wheel off the track when one of the Ferrari returned to the race after a pit stop. The second off road event left him beached in Turn 1 and out of the race. Yes he won a race last year. Yes he still brings money to the team and all of them need it. If you donÔÇÖt finish races you canÔÇÖt score championship points for yourself or the team and your sponsors donÔÇÖt get their names show except in an ignominious shot of the inept driver exiting his car. He did not take anyone with him, so they had solo billing in that shot. Paired with rookie Bottas who finished P14 it looks to be a long season for Williams.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! and good night.