Brazil: Qualifying Update

Treacherous weather conditions at Interlagos have brought qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix to a halt as the teams and drivers wait to see if the session will be re-started.

Heavy showers in the morning had already cut final practice short, and although the rain had begun to ease ahead of the all crucial qualifying hour, the drivers still had to contend with treacherous conditions as they hit the wet and slippery track and battled to generate heat into their tyres for their first flying laps.

It didn’t take much to convince race control that the track was still too dangerous for the cars though. Q1 was stopped after only a few minutes when Giancarlo Fisichella aquaplaned off the track at the second Senna S.

When Q1 was eventually re-started, Nico Rosberg lapped quickest with championship contenders Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello sitting pretty in fifth and sixth place.

But it was the worst possible outcome for Sebastian Vettel who could only manage sixteenth after Red Bull Racing gambled on a dry car setup in anticipation of Sunday’s race.

McLaren also opted for a dry setup and that saw Lewis Hamilton engaged in a battle just to keep his car on the track, let alone produce a lap quick enough to progress to Q2. The Briton had a foray onto the grass and ended up eighteenth, behind teammate Heikki Kovalainen, but ahead of BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld.

Force India’s Tonio Liuzzi was race control’s hapless yellow canary in Q2. His VJM02 aquaplaned on the start/finish straight and careered into the outside wall, re-affirming the danger of the conditions.

The teams and drivers have been in limbo for over half an hour now as we wait to see if the qualifying session will continue. There are on-going track inspections.

Here is the current order from Q2:

1       Nico Rosberg            Williams                
2       Kimi Räikkönen          Ferrari         
3       Robert Kubica           BMW             
4       Kazuki Nakajima         Williams                
5       Rubens Barrichello      Brawn           
6       Jenson Button           Brawn           
7       Fernando Alonso         Renault         
8       Romain Grosjean         Renault         
9       Adrian Sutil            Force India             
10      Sebastien Buemi         Toro Rosso              
11      Jarno Trulli            Toyota          
12      Kamui Kobayashi         Toyota          
13      Mark Webber             Red Bull                
14      Alguersuari Jaime       Toro Rosso              
15      Vitantanio Liuzzi       Force India             

16      Sebastian Vettel        Red Bull        
17      Heikki Kovalainen       McLaren         
18      Lewis Hamilton          McLaren         
19      Nick Heidfeld           BMW             
20      Giancarlo Fisichella    Force India