For the first time since Japan in 2010, Formula 1 qualifying has been delayed. Yesterday’s qualifying sessions two and three where forced to be moved to Sunday morning of the race after torrential rain created unsafe racing conditions.
Nico Rosberg set the best time of the session in his Mercedes, which has always had astounding mechanical grip. But the story of the drenched first session was the driver’s struggles with the wet track, including Felipe Massa, Mark Webber, Paul Di Resta and Sergio Perez, all who had separate incidents during qualifying session one.
Despite all that, it was the Caterham cars along with the Marrusia teammates who were eliminated, alongside Pastor Maldonado and rookie Esteban Gutierrez.
However, such an incident in Formula 1 is not without controversy. This marks the first time that separate sessions of qualifying have been canceled I recent memory (at Suzuka all sessions were canceled) and because of this, fans around the United States are unable to watch live qualifying.
When NBC acquired the television contract they promised an unprecedented level of live coverage, and despite airing the first two practice sessions of the New Year, there is a scheduling conflict for live qualifying.
Frankly, the way that the qualifying is done, it would be hard to believe that FIA boss Bernie Ecclestone would have kept the results had one of his premier drivers been eliminated during the first qualifying session. Instead, the top 16 drivers will take to the track again the morning of the race to set the field for the first race of the 2013 season.
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