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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2010 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX - POSTPONED QUALIFYING
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Postponed Qualifying
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
The red lights could be all day
The red lights could be all day © LAT
04:45 Hello everyone and welcome back to the continuing chaos that is around 16 of the 2010 FIA Formula One world championship - the Japanese Grand Prix from Suzuka.

We all knew it was coming, and at dawn the rains arrived. At first it was light, but the rain fell heavier and heavier as the morning progressed and right now it is uncertain whether qualifying will even take place today.

The rain is continuing to hammer down, with little easing off expected for at least another hour.

In dry conditions, Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were on top form. But, after a morning session where hardly anyone posted a lap time, wet weather performance is unknown.

Race director Charlie Whiting is likely to announce a plan before the scheduled start of the session, with the potential for a rolling delay while the FIA officials wait to see if conditions improve.

Saturday is fast becoming a challenge for the drivers, teams, circuit officials, spectators, and fans all around the world, but AUTOSPORT Live will continue with coverage until we have a grid for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix.

Alguersuari completed nine laps this morning
Alguersuari splashed around for nine laps this morning © Sutton
04:47 Jaime Alguersuari led Timo Glock home at the end of one of the quietest practice sessions ever seen, thanks to a Saturday morning deluge at Suzuka.

Every driver did venture out to check the circuit conditions. Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastien Buemi did attempt a few gentle laps, but decided against risking their cars.

Alguersuari was perhaps the bravest man in the field as he completed nine laps of the Suzuka River Rapids in 1m55.902s - some 11.595s quicker than Glock.

Downpour spoils final Suzuka practice

04:49 Here is how the qualifying battle is shaping up within the teams:
Qualifying head-to-head

Button          5 - 10     Hamilton
Schumacher	3 - 12     Rosberg
Vettel		8 - 7      Webber
Massa		4 - 11     Alonso
Barrichello    10 - 5      Hulkenberg
Kubica	       14 - 1      Petrov
Sutil	       13 - 2      Liuzzi
Buemi	       11 - 4      Alguersuari
Trulli		7 - 8      Kovalainen
Senna		4 - 0      Yamamoto
Heidfeld	0 - 1      Kobayashi
Glock	       14 - 1 	   Di Grassi
04:50 Keep up to speed with our minute-by-minute commentary on the move with the new AUTOSPORT app.

On a train? In an airport? No TV? Get the AUTOSPORT Live experience optimised for your iPhone now:

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04:50 The FIA has announced a 30 minute delay to the qualifying session.

Fans have been braving terrible conditions
Fans have been braving terrible conditions © Sutton
04:51 Motor racing fans love to debate the action on track and the live forum is your opportunity to share your experiences of the Formula 1 weekend with everyone.

• Do you think that we'll get qualifying completed today?

• If you were a team manager, how would you plan to run your two cars in the wet conditions?

• If the session does run this afternoon, who has the pace in wet conditions to take the pole position in your view?

Tell the world what you think.

Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you'd like to join the debate.

04:52 There will be another assessment of the conditions at 14:20 local time.

Safety car
It's a red light for now © Sutton
04:54 If the conditions fail to improve, a rescheduled session at 10am tomorrow morning is the likely outcome - with darkness potentially setting in at Suzuka before things dry up that much this afternoon.

Qualifying took place on Sunday morning here in 2004 after the threat of Typhoon Ma-On forced the circuit to be evacuated on Saturday.

Should the session begin at some point this afternoon, it is possible that there could be scramble to leave the pits and begin the process of banking a time, as even the order that the cars head out could be enough to decide a grid should the session immediately come to a halt.

But, with the outside chance of the rain easing slightly before it gets dark, the rolling delay for now means a long wait is setting in for the teams, drivers and incredibly patient fans in the grandstands.

04:58 No change in the weather conditions at Suzuka. The rain is continuing to hammer down and in the last few minutes, another heavy pulse swept through the area.

The radar shows that the intensity of the rainfall will continue like this for at least another 90 minutes.

05:00 The scheduled start of qualifying ticks by as rain falls heavily at the circuit.

"If it carries on like this, we're not going to be out today. We might do bowling instead!"
Jenson Button speaking to BBC TV

05:06 On two previous occasions Saturday qualifying at the Japanese Grand Prix has been affected by heavy rain.

In 1992, the final session was marred by a downpour and it was much the same as we saw in this morning's final practice, with only a few drivers venturing out onto the circuit. However, the session did run to a conclusion.

05:06 Shots from around the circuit show it to be almost flooded in places, meaning it will take a while to become drivable even if the rain stops.

05:09 HRT drivers Yamamoto and Senna are waiting out the rain at the back of the garage.

"There is a lot of aquaplaning - even going down the straight. There are some areas where the water is running across the track. It is not possible at the moment to drive. Even if there is a car 10 or 15 seconds in front of you, the spray is still that much that you cannot see."
Timo Glock, speaking to BBC TV

05:12 Steward Alex Wurz is heading out as a passenger in the safety car to help the FIA evaluate the conditions.

05:15 The safety car rumbles out of the pitlane to carry out another track inspection.

05:17 The big Mercedes is aquaplaning as Bernd Maylander gives Alex Wurz a tour of the sodden circuit.

05:17 A decision on what is likely to be another lengthy delay is due in a couple of minutes.

05:20 The safety car is now back in its garage.

05:20 The session will be delayed until 15:00 local time.

05:21 Another notification is promised by race control at 14:50.

05:23 The rain continues to fall unabated, with the session looking increasingly unlikely to take place today.

05:28 The second instance of wet Saturday qualifying at Suzuka was in 1994. Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill were vying for the title and, 24 hours before the Briton's sensational victory, Schumacher dazzled everyone in conditions that were actually worse than what we see today.

05:31 Schumacher had already taken provisional pole for the event during Friday's session, but his performance on Saturday set him apart as he lapped Suzuka two seconds per lap quicker than Williams drivers Hill and Nigel Mansell.

05:33 Meanwhile, it's still raining ...

05:35 On the radar, a heavy rain cell has intensified to 'torrential' and lies just of few kilometres to the south-west of the circuit.

05:36 The rain will get heavier in the next few minutes, for around a quarter of an hour, before reducing back to the level we have at the moment

05:37 Fernando Alonso remains in the Ferrari garage as he chats with the engineers. He is wearing his Ferrari team coat and is in a relaxed mood.

05:40 As the rain becomes even more intense, it looks increasingly likely that we will not get the qualifying session started today.

05:42 The safety car is heading out for another track inspection.

05:46 Conditions actually appear to be worse than at the last inspection as a burst of very heavy rain passes over the circuit.

05:48 Bernd Maylander barely holds on to a major wobble as the big Mercedes navigates a sizable river of water approaching the first Degner.

05:50 The session has been further delayed until 15:30 local time.

05:51 There will be further news from race control at 15:20.

05:54 Some rainfall totals, as it continues to hammer down over Suzuka: 26 mm of rain has fallen (just over one inch) over the last three hours.

05:56 Another two inches of rain is expected to fall over the next nine hours before this system finally clears the region.

05:59 Although qualifying now looks likely to be postponed until Sunday, the final decision has not been taken yet.

06:00 We will continue with commentary until the final decision is given by race director Charlie Whiting.

06:02 Looking around the circuit in the increasing gloom, you can really see the problems that the intense rainfall is causing.

06:04 Many of the grassy areas to the sides of the race track are now holding masses of standing water and forming large puddles.

06:07 Meanwhile, the teams continue to entertain themselves with ever more elaborate boats navigating the river flowing down the pitlane.

06:10 The radar shows that another intense pulse of rain is about to pass over the circuit - possibly up to 30 mm of rain per hour over the next 20 minutes.

06:13 The safety car heads out once again as intense rain pounds down on the Suzuka circuit.

"I don't think the sun is coming out. There's so much standing water that's running onto the track as well, so I think it's impossible to run qualifying today"
Christian Horner, Red Bull speaking to German broadcaster Sky

06:16 The safety car headlights blaze through the gloom as Bernd Maylander continues a tour in even worse conditions than at the last inspection.

06:18 The rain is more intense than ever as the safety car rumbles back into the pitlane.

06:18 Qualifying has been postponed until Sunday

06:19 The stewards will shortly publish a decision to officially wave-off the grid deciding session until tomorrow morning.

06:22 The session is likely to take place at 10:00 local time, although that is yet to be officially confirmed.

06:23 Vettel is leading applause for the fans in the grandstands who have endured terrible conditions to see little action today.

06:24 Latest from the radar: The ridiculously intense rain will end at around 17:00 JST (90 minutes from now), then it will become lighter.

06:25 The weather has unfortunately won the Saturday qualifying battle at Suzuka. Conditions were just too wet for racing cars to be safely driven.

Like everyone else, we will be waiting for official news on what will happen to decide the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix. As soon as a new schedule is published, we will publish our own commentary time for qualifying on the AUTOSPORT Live schedule board.

Suzuka will host 'Super Sunday' and we hope you can join us for all the action tomorrow.

  OVERVIEW QUALIFYING  
Session length: 60 minutes
  CURRENT WEATHER
Heavy rain High Temp: 18°C / 64°F
Track: Very wet
  INFOBOX
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  LIVE COVERAGE NAVIGATOR
Monday 04 Oct Start GMT
 Japanese Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 08 Oct
 Friday Morning Practice 00:45
 Friday Afternoon Practice 04:45
Saturday 09 Oct
 Saturday Morning Practice 01:45
 Postponed Qualifying 04:45
Sunday 10 Oct
 Sunday Morning Qualifying 00:45
 Race day at Suzuka 05:00
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