Styrian Grand Prix final practice washed out, threat to qualifying

Third Practice for the Styrian GP has been cancelled due to heavy rains. (charleslechamp16 / Instagram)
Third Practice for the Styrian GP has been cancelled due to heavy rains. (charleslechamp16 / Instagram)

The third and final free practice for this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix was 'delayed indefinitely' on Saturday morning as heavy rain left the Red Bull Ring awash with running water.

The track hosted the Formula One opening Grand Prix last weekend where despite fine weather nine of the 20 cars failed to complete the eventful race won by Valterri Bottas of Mercedes.

But the second date on the calendar at the same track has been hit with heavy rainstorms, widely forecast on Friday, swept through the region early Saturday and led to the abandonment of a Formula Three feature race after only 14 of a scheduled 24 laps.

The conditions were declared as too dangerous to allow racing to continue.

Rain is expected to continue falling throughout the day and is a threat to the running of the qualifying session later on Saturday afternoon.

Race Director Michael Masi said Friday that one of the contingencies was to postpone qualifying until Sunday morning or to take the second practice times to decide grid positions.

Masi said: "Earlier, it looked like Sunday morning was not going to be great either, but that seems to have cleared up and is maybe possible."

If the weather does not permit qualifying to take place Sunday morning, he said second practice classification positions would be used to create the grid.

That would give Red Bull's Max Verstappen pole position ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes, who won last Sunday's season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, and Racing Point's Sergio Perez.

Six-time champion Lewis Hamilton would start sixth in the second Mercedes behind Lance Stroll in the second Racing Point and Carlos Sainz of McLaren.

A Sunday qualifying last happened in F1 before the Japanese Grand Prix last season.

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