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Japan 2010 - Qualifying highlights (Part 1) - Weather stops play as qualifying is halted early

Published by Christine

Lewis waits patiently in Suzuka.

It was pretty obvious from the state of things in Free Practice 3 that we were not guaranteed any qualifying action today. Only two cars set times in that final practice hour, and the track was considered to be dangerous by pretty much anyone who looked at it.

Roll on the hour of qualifying then, and it was only the Safety Car that took to the track. Those fifteen minute inspections continued until it was finally deemed unsafe for the sessions to go ahead. Qualifying has been postponed until Sunday.

That being said, we had a great time whiling away the hours - watching the teams and drivers participate in paper boat races, deciding how we would order the grid without qualifying, and of course, anxiously watching Twitter for any news. Here's how non-qualifying played out.

As it happened: 2010 Japan - Qualifying

  • 05:30

    Morning/afternoon/evening. I think it might be raining at Suzuka. Quite a lot.

  • 05:31

    It is wet and still raining, and there's plenty of talk that if it doesn't let up soon qualifying will not only be delayed today but even postponed until tomorrow.

  • 05:32

    We're watching the BBC stream here: but they are busy filling at the moment with excellent Karun features.

  • 05:33


  • 05:34

    TweetTweet from @antdavidson: The rain is now even heavier than the last few minutes of FP3. A few dedicated fans are sitting it out on the banking of turn 7!! Respect.

  • 05:36

    Autosport Live updates will appear when they start:

  • 05:37

    Why not join us for live commenting... nothing at the moment.

  • 05:38

    You could use this opportunity to test out the dashboard. It has live updates, plus Twitter integrated right in the same window.

  • 05:38

    TweetTweet from @MyLotusRacing: minutes to go until the decision's made on qualifying today.... looks like it's off until tomorrow... will be announced in a bit

  • 05:38

    This could be the shortest Factbyte Factbox session ever.

  • 05:42

    Interview with Christian Horner. "I think probably the most sensible thing will be to postpone this session till tomorrow morning."

  • 05:42

    TweetTweet from @MikeGascoyne: If the start of qualifying is delayed it will likely be put back in 15 min intervals until 4.30 when it will be called off

  • 05:43

    I hope they just put their foot down and say not today, otherwise that's two and a half hours of postponements. This could be the longest FBFB ever!

  • 05:47

    Virgin boys play pokerThis is how Glock and di Grassi pass the time waiting for qualifying.

  • 05:47

    TweetTweet from @ToroRossoSpy: 15 mins before qualifying: raining cats and dogs. Reckon session will be delayed/cancelled. Hard rain expected til 5pm.

  • 05:50

    Wurz, in his capacity as steward, says the decision rests with Charlie Whiting but he wouldn't want to go out there.

  • 05:51

    Wurz is putting his money on qualifying tomorrow.

  • 05:52

    Interview with Martin Whitmarsh: "We will be ready to qualify. Charlie has had the safety car go out and he'll give us ten minutes notice, but we've got now until 4:30 to wait for qualifying to get going. We have to wait in readiness."

  • 05:53

    Q1 officially put back until 14:30 local time.

  • 05:53

    TweetTweet from @alanvdm: Just been out in the SC with Bernd. Lots of standing water in critical places. Going out again at 1415.

  • 05:54

    TweetTweet from @MikeGascoyne: The fact they put it back by 30mins straight away shows how bad the track conditions are

  • 05:55

    More from Whitmarsh: "If there's no qualifying at all, we'll line up for the race in number order, which we'd be quite happy about. That's not very likely though. The reality is it will happen. We'll either have an aborted qualifying, with the circuit going red this afternoon, or qualifying tomorrow morning."

  • 05:57

    QuoteComment from Lukeh: How about they line up in order of the amount of races theyve been in?

  • 05:59

    Interview with Lewis Hamilton: "It's so slippery out there, there are so many rivers. When you aquaplane, the car lifts and you lose all grip for a couple of seconds. Right now, it doesn't look like it's going to dry up or stop raining."

  • 06:00

    Interview with Jenson Button: "Watching the Safety Car go round, he's aquaplaning. We'll go out in any condition the car will go round the circuit. It's tricky, Charlie hasn't got an easy job. If it carries on like this, we won't be out today."

  • 06:00

    Asked if the drivers have any say in whether qualifying goes ahead, Hamilton laughs: "We wish."

  • 06:03

    TweetTweet from @MikeGascoyne: All those who have got up early and have no action to watch send in some questions, I have time to answer them after all

  • 06:04

    TweetTweet from @MauriceHamilton: Don't forget, due to parc ferme rules, if cars go out they must qualify with set-up to be used in the race - for which the forecast is dry.

  • 06:05

    TweetTweet from @H_Kovalainen: Should be qualifying now but too much rain... #fb

  • 06:06

    I am not filling with tweets, I don't know what you mean.

  • 06:08

    Safety CarThere's a car out on track!

  • 06:09

    Interview with Glock: "There are some areas where the water is running across the track. It's just too wet. It's not possible at the moment to drive. The rivers are nearly everywhere."

  • 06:11

    TweetTweet from @lookingspiffy: YES. Decide the grid by bowling scores. If it was Wii Sports Bowling I'd qualify AT LEAST as high as 8th. #F1

  • 06:14

    Interview with Jarno Trulli: "I think it's the right decision to delay or abort for the moment qualifying. I think the FIA knows very well now, after a lot of past experience, that this condition is too dangerous. At the moment, we have to wait."

  • 06:15

    TweetTweet from @NobleF1: YES. Decide the grid by bowling scores. If it was Wii Sports Bowling I'd qualify AT LEAST as high as 8th. #F1

  • 06:15

    How would you decide the grid?

  • 06:18

    QuoteComment from Alex Andronov: I would decide the starting grid by lining up the drivers on that hill and have them slippy slide down in their race suits. The further you slide the higher up the grid you go

  • 06:18

    QuoteComment from RG: Reverse numberical. No bias at all, the fact Timo starts 2nd, Kamui 3rd and Nick 4th is just a coincidence.

  • 06:18

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: The safety car is out on track conducting an assessment. Conditions don't seem to have improved but we wait for the decision...

  • 06:20

    QuoteComment from Steven Roy: I think the grid should be decided based on the order of the codes for the main colour of their car and the two drivers in each team based on the colour code for their helmet

  • 06:20

    Qualifying officially delayed until 3pm local time.

  • 06:25

    Interview with Ross Brawn: "The scenario we imagine is qualifying tomorrow morning. It will probably still be damp, so that will be interesting. The forecast is for the conditions to recover tomorrow and a dry race. There's a little bit we can do in the regulations between wet and dry but not a lot, so we are setup for the dry. I don't want to speak too soon but when we've had these conditions before, we've been very strong. As long as it's not dangerous."

  • 06:27

    Heikki waitsHeikki waits patiently.

  • 06:29

    I'm afraid I'm going to have to dip into the statistics, chaps.

    Qualifying Battle
    Force India
    Qualified Ahead
    Adrian Sutil
    Tonio Liuzzi2
  • 06:30

    Speculation about Sutil's future is rife. Joe Saward suggested Force India were keeping their lineup, but the BBC were less certain that he won't be moving onwards. He certainly seems to have outshone Liuzzi in qualifying!

  • 06:34

    This one is much closer than I would have imagined.

    Qualifying Battle
    Lotus Racing
    Qualified Ahead
    Heikki Kovalainen
    Jarno Trulli7
  • 06:36

    Die-hard fansI would have stayed at home!

  • 06:38

    A reminder of the standings that will change if this weekend ever actually gets started.

    Championship Standings
    1Mark Webber202
    2Fernando Alonso191
    3Lewis Hamilton182
    4Sebastian Vettel181
    5Jenson Button177
  • 06:38

    TweetTweet from @The_Real_JB: Raining hard here at Suzuka, and it doesn't seem like it's going to stop any time soon! Feel for all u guys back in Europe that r up early!

  • 06:40

    TweetTweet from @MikeGascoyne: Having to resort to Lotus Racing energy drink to keep the spirits up. Don't think anyone here believes this will happen

  • 06:42
    Race Wins
    1Mark Webber
    2Fernando Alonso4
    3Lewis Hamilton3
    4Sebastian Vettel
    5Jenson Button
  • 06:43

    TweetTweet from @5LiveF1: Tell you what, you have have to give credit to the fans here at the track! Still here and still smiling!!! Brilliant... Just brilliant...

  • 06:48

    Safety CarThe Safety Car goes out again. Looks a bit wobbly.

  • 06:51

    Officially delayed, yet again, until 15:30 local time.

  • 06:57

    Heikki Kovalainen admits that he doesn't care who wins the championship, whilst Mike Gascoyne puts his money on one of the Red Bulls.

  • 07:00

    The BBC have abandoned us!

  • 07:02

    So, hmm. I mean, I would never, ever admit that the BBC is the source of all my powers, but... hmm.

  • 07:05

    TweetTweet from @autosportlive: Looking around the circuit in the increasing gloom, you can really see the problems that the intense rainfall is causing.

  • 07:05
    Pole Positions
    1Sebastian Vettel7
    2Mark Webber5
    3Fernando Alonso2
    4Lewis Hamilton1
  • 07:08

    TweetTweet from @MikeGascoyne: Seems the BBC have stopped broadcasting after getting me soaked, lightweights. Keep here for updates. By the way its still raining

  • 07:13

    TweetTweet from @sarahholtf1: The floodlights have now come on around Suzuka, which suggests it might well be too dark for a full hour of qualifying. We shall see.

  • 07:19

    TweetTweet from @NobleF1: Qualifying has been delayed until Sunday. Stewards' statement soon

  • 07:19

    Phew! A decision.

  • 07:20

    Qualifying therefore takes place (weather permitting) at 10am local time tomorrow. That's 2am in the UK.

  • 07:21

    TweetTweet from @mm_lotusracing: That's it. Quali cancelled. Good luck to all those who will be getting up extra early to watch qualifying tomorrow morning

  • 07:22

    Good luck is what we're going to need!

  • 07:22

    And thus, today's Factbyte Factbox draws to a close. This is normally the time I would sum up all the action and where it leaves us.

  • 07:22


  • 07:23

    Until tomorrow, then. I will see you bright and early. Well, early at least. Bye!

All content in the series Japan 2010