McLaren's Lewis Hamilton has said conditions today were some of the worst he has ever experienced in an F1 car - and he added that it was a 'good call' to defer qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix until Sunday morning.
Hamilton did three exploratory laps in final practice this morning and with conditions similarly affected by heavy rain, as they were for qualifying, he explained that it was just impossible to keep control of the car.
“I like going out in the wet, but in order to keep the tyre temperatures up, you need to be going at a sufficient speed to be able to work the brakes properly,” Hamilton said. “I was aquaplaning all the time [in FP3] – I couldn't get to full throttle. I couldn't even use half-throttle!
"They're some of the worst conditions I've ever experienced in F1 – rivers flowing from one side of the track to the other. And with so much torque, even in fourth gear, the rear would light up, so you were trying to push gently to avoid losing heat in the tyres.
"It was a good call by the stewards then to defer qualifying today. It's unfortunate for all the fans – but I think tomorrow will be an exceptional day."
Bridgestone's director of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima meanwhile revealed that the tyres just can't cope with that amount of water.
“There was very little track action today due to the extreme weather with continual heavy rain throughout the afternoon,” he added. “We saw some very limited running in the morning however qualifying was first delayed and then postponed due to the amount of water on track.
“Every driver did complete at least an installation lap [in practice], and all reported aquaplaning due to the number of deep puddles and amount of water streaming across the track. The decision to postpone qualifying was the correct one as it was too wet, even for our wet weather F1 tyre.
“Tomorrow if there is no rain we will face a clean track from the rain, but without the benefit of laid rubber so it will be an evolving track surface. If there is rain I hope it will not be as hard as today. Our wet tyre can displace 61 litres per second of water when fitted to an F1 car travelling at 300kph, but this afternoon there was too much water even for these tyres.”