United States GP qualifying to run on Sunday after heavy rain

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer in Austin
Highlights: Hamilton on top before US GP qualifying washout
United States Grand Prix
Venue: Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas Dates: 23-25 October
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary of all three days, plus BBC TV highlights of qualifying and the race. Full details here.

United States Grand Prix qualifying has been postponed after a series of delays because of dangerous wet conditions.

Race officials scheduled qualifying for 09:00 local time on Sunday (14:00 GMT), with the race due to start at 19:00.

Austin is being affected by heavy rain on the periphery of tropical storm Patricia, which hit Mexico on Friday.

Bird watching, ballroom and bobsleigh in USA pit lane

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was fastest in final practice earlier on Saturday but the cars were unable to run in the afternoon because of persistent rain.

After five delays of 30 minutes, race officials accepted at 16:00 local time that there would not be a sufficient break in the weather to allow the cars to run.

Highlights of qualifying will now be aired on BBC Two at 17:00 GMT. Race highlights will be on BBC One at 22:30 BST.

Weather forecasts also predict rain on Sunday, but with much less certainty than on Saturday and of much lower intensity.

Hamilton needs to beat team-mate Rosberg by two points and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by nine to seal his third title this weekend.

Vettel and Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen will be demoted 10 places on the grid from their qualifying positions because of penalties for using more than the permitted number of engines this season.

Hamilton would become only the second Briton to win three Formula 1 World Championships, matching the achievements of Sir Jackie Stewart 42 years ago.

Jackie Stewart
Fate? Jackie Stewart won his third and final world title in America, the 1973 US Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is hoping to seal is third title in his beloved America on Sunday
Title permutations: Can Hamilton win in Austin?
If Hamilton wins, Vettel must finish second to prevent Hamilton winning the title at the US GP
If Hamilton finishes second, Vettel must finish fifth or Nico Rosberg must win the race to prevent Hamilton winning the title
If Hamilton finishes third, Vettel must finish sixth or Rosberg must finish second
If Hamilton finishes fourth, Vettel must finish eighth or Rosberg must finish third
If Hamilton finishes fifth, Vettel must finish ninth or Rosberg must finish fourth
If Hamilton finishes sixth, the title battle will continue to the next race in Mexico, even if Vettel does not finish or collects no points. Rosberg would need to come fifth to still be in contention.

A modern classic

Any country considering a model for a new Formula 1 race could do far, far worse than look at what Austin, Texas, has achieved with the US Grand Prix.

For a start, there's the track. In marked contrast to many of the so-called Tilke-dromes that have proliferated in recent years, the Circuit of the Americas has real character.

Further rain expected for race day at the Grand Prix in Texas

Elevation change, a good selection of challenging corners of differing speeds, the real possibility of creating proper racing and decent viewing.

Beyond that, Austin itself is a superlative host city - vibrant, cosmopolitan, friendly and blessed with great nightlife.

In just three short years, the race has already become a modern classic.

It really is the standard to which all new races must aspire - but from which, sadly, so many fall short.

United States GP practice results

United States GP coverage details

Qualifying will now take place at 14:00 GMT on Sunday after heavy rain made for dangerous on-track conditions
Red Bull's drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat entertained the crowds with a rehearsed dance routine
Sauber mechanics
The Sauber mechanics killed time by pulling two crew members along the pit lane in a travel crate
Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg entertained himself kicking a football around the pitlane

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