Japanese GP qualifying moved to Sunday due to rain

Suzuka: Heavy rain forced Formula One organisers to delay qualifying for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix with track conditions too treacherous for drivers.

The start of Saturday’s hour-long session at Suzuka was first pushed back by half an hour to 1430 local (0530 GMT) and then again to 1500, with a strong likelihood of an eventual postponement to Sunday morning.

That has happened before at Suzuka, with qualifying for the 2004 race held on the Sunday morning after typhoon Ma-on blew through the area.

Saturday’s final practice had already been washed out, with just two drivers setting a time as others abandoned their efforts with the rain lashing down.

“We could have the grid decided by championship order, that’s happened before, or for qualifying to take place on Sunday morning,” Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn had said before the session was due to start.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who crashed in Friday practice, had described the conditions as way too slippery.

“Guys, this is just unbelievable. Pretty much impossible to drive out here. There are rivers everywhere,” the 2008 world champion, one of five contenders for this year’s title, said over the team radio on one attempted lap.

Australian Mark Webber leads the championship for Red Bull, 11 points clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with four races remaining.

Bureau Report

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