Delayed Korean Grand Prix halted by rain

The first South Korean Formula One Grand Prix started behind the safety car after a 10-minute delay on Sunday and was then stopped due to impossible conditions.

"You can`t even see the front tyres when you`re on the straight," complained McLaren`s world champion Jenson Button over the team radio, who likened a pool of standing water on the straight to a lake.

"You`re just driving completely blind, waiting to hit something."

Rain had been falling since the night before and intensified before the start.

Race director Charlie Whiting first ordered a delay and then abandoned plans for a regular start, with the safety car leading the field off the grid.

The decision, understandable in the conditions, denied fans what had promised to be a thrilling start to a key race in the championship battle between five title contenders.

The red flag then halted the procession, after cars had completed three laps through clouds of spray.

"It`s the worst conditions I ever drove a car," exclaimed Ferrari`s double world champion Fernando Alonso over his radio.

"It`s impossible. I don`t even know where is Webber."

Red Bull`s Sebastian Vettel, who is 14 points behind championship leading team mate Mark Webber with two more races to come after Yeongam, led the Australian off the grid from pole position. Alonso was in third place.

The decision to go behind the safety car might have been a relief for Webber, who had been in danger of seeing the Spaniard roar past at the start after the Australian qualified second and on the dirty side of an already dusty track.

Alonso is second overall, level on points with Vettel but ahead 4-3 on race wins.

The final layer of asphalt at the track some 400km south-west of the capital Seoul was laid little more than two weeks ago.

Bureau Report

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