Melbourne, 16 March – The starting grid for the Australian Grand Prix will not be decided until after 11 tomorrow morning. The Race Director took the decision to postpone Q2 and Q3 because of a violent storm that hit the Albert Park circuit. At the end of Q1, the only part of the proceedings that went ahead when the rain eased briefly, Fernando Alonso was second fastest in 1.43.850, behind the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, (1.43.380.) In the other F138, Felipe Massa was sixth in 1.44.635, having survived a spin that saw him damage both wings against the barriers.
“It’s a shame that qualifying has been put back to tomorrow, “ commented Fernando following the announcement. “And that goes for the teams who were focussed on their preparations for the session, as well as the crowd who came to watch and the marshals who worked so hard on trying to dry the track. But it was the right decision given the track conditions, especially as the white lines were really too slippery. Now we must wait for tomorrow and see if the weather and the track improve.”
“The lines that mark out the edge of the track were very slippery,” agreed Felipe. “I ended up on one at the exit to a corner and lost control of the car, but I confess I was lucky. In my whole career, I’ve never managed to get back on track after such a heavy impact and I’m really happy to still be in the hunt for qualifying. Other drivers were in similarly risky positions, so I fully approve of the decision taken by the stewards. In the dry, we are up there with the best, now we must sort out fixing the damaged parts.”
Australian GP – Spot on forecast
Melbourne, 16 March – As predicted the rain arrived in time to affect the third and final free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, with a short but heavy downpour hitting the track when just a few laps had been completed. All the drivers headed back to the pits, before heading out again on rain tyres. Romain Grosjean was fastest in the Lotus, setting a dry time of 1.26.929, followed by the F138s of Fernando Alonso (1.27.000) and Felipe Massa (1.27.241). Both Ferrari men only did a handful of laps on the Albert Park semi-permanent circuit. Next up comes the all-important qualifying session to decide the grid order for tomorrow’s race which starts at 17h00.