Heavy rain in Monza delays qualifying for Italian GP

2017-09-02 07:01:25

MONZA, Italy (AP) Heavy rain has delayed qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix for more than 90 minutes after Romain Grosjean aquaplaned early in Q1.

Poised to break Michael Schumacher's Formula One record with his 69th pole position, Lewis Hamilton had posted the fastest lap before the red flags came out after just 6 1/2 minutes.

Only nine drivers posted lap times Saturday.

Grosjean hit the barriers then drifted across the main straightaway without harm seconds after the Frenchman told his Haas team via radio: ''I can't see where I'm going. It's too dangerous.''

Race organizers have been announcing delays every 15 minutes and qualifying could continue until darkness. The decision could also be made to postpone qualifying until Sunday, when clearer weather is forecast.

Earlier, Williams veteran Felipe Massa led the rain-shortened final practice as one of only seven drivers to complete laps.

Lance Stroll, Massa's teammate at Williams, was second and Nico Hulkenberg of Renault was third.

The leading times were about 20 seconds slower than those established in dry conditions on Friday.

Even with teams using their thickly treaded ''wet'' tires, few risks were taken because of low visibility and the risk of aquaplaning on the long straights that characterize the circuit.

The leading times were about 20 seconds slower than those established in dry conditions a day earlier.

The Mercedes and Ferrari cars did not set times in the 16 minutes when the track was open, although they did come out briefly.

""Just remember, this is a potential qualifying tire, so don"t damage it,"" Lewis Hamilton was told via team radio.