• Torrential rains descend on Suzuka circuit
• Qualifying will take place tomorrow at 2am British time
Qualifying for tomorrow’s Japanese grand prix was washed out at Suzuka by torrential rain and will now be held at 2am UK time tomorrow, with the race starting at 7am. In a wet morning practice only two cars completed timed laps and conditions deteriorated throughout the day.
The FIA kept a healthy crowd hopeful that they would see some qualifying by despatching the high-powered Mercedes safety car out on the circuit at regular intervals, but when the experienced Bernd Maylander looked to struggle for control it was obvious that sending out 24 grand prix cars, that run just centimetres off the road would be futile.
The last time this happened in Formula One was also at Suzuka, back in 2004, when Typhoon Ma-on came close enough to the island of Honshu to wash out qualifying on the Saturday and have the grid decided on Sunday morning, just hours ahead of the race.
After Friday practice it was the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber that set the pace, well clear of their rivals. Lewis Hamilton, who crashed on Friday, will be severely compromised ahead of qualifying due to lack of track time and his team-mate, Jenson Button, and title rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari will be looking to limit the damage in a race that Red Bull are expected to dominate.