The rain arrived in Melbourne during practice 3 -- the final one before qualifying -- and the Albert Park Circuit had many rivers forming. Then came the thunderstorm causing power outages.
The 2013 FIA Formula One season opening race weekend in Australia has delivered a different kind of drama to the usual action seen on the track. Due to torrential rain pouring onto the Albert Park circuit and after several delays during qualifying, the stewards have announced that the rest of the session will now be postponed until tomorrow, which means the drivers will be under pressure to perform in both qualifying and then the race all in the same day.
Before the new storm cells arrived to stop play on the proceedings, the 22 drivers in the field did have the opportunity to take to the track and complete the 20 minute section of the qualifying period in which six drivers failed to make the grade. Williams driver, Pastor Maldonado will be leading man of this small group at the back of the pack as he will begin the race from 17th place. The Venezuelan will also be ahead of one of the five rookies in the sport this season, Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez who will line up on the grid in 18th position.
Caterham’s new addition to the team, Giedo van der Garde, beat his team mate to a higher grid slot after qualifying in 21st place, which leaves Charles Pic the final man in the line-up with the rest of the field still to be decided tomorrow.
During the Q1 session that the drivers managed to complete, van der Garde was among those who experienced more trouble off the track than on it. The Dutchman lost his front wing after he struggled to control his car at one point and his team mate, Pic also suffered the same fate. Another casualty with the same problem was Gutierrez and at the point in the session when his front wing came off it caused some of the field to abort their final flying laps as they had to slow down to pass by.
McLaren at the end of last season. The 2008 World Champion had damage to his rear wing after going off the track momentarily but he continued to put his laps in without a problem until the session got the red flag. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa also had his fair share of problems when his front wing came off after a mishap.
If today’s short qualifying period is anything to go by, it is certain that when the remainder takes place tomorrow that it will not disappoint in terms of drama. The rest of the drivers are sure to be extra competitive as they go head to head with their rivals to secure a solid grid slot.