The arrival of rain over Sepang proved costly for a number of drivers hoping to feature in the pole position shoot-out at the Malaysian Grand Prix, including both Romain Grosjean and Paul di Resta.
Neither had set a competitive time when the cloudburst struck, and steady rain thereafter put paid to any hope of an improvement, even though some six minutes remained in the session. di Resta had been the first driver on track, but abandoned his first effort and was then caught out by a damp track at turn seven when the rain arrived. Another spin on his next lap confirmed that the conditions were too bad for a reprieve.
Grosjean, likewise, was in the pits when the shower started and, despite attempting a run on the medium tyre, hastened back to the shelter of his garage when it proved impossible to keep the Lotus straight. Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Gutierrez will split Grosjean and di Resta on the grid, while Pastor Maldonado fills P16 as the slowest runner in Q2.
After their travails in Q1, both Red Bulls made it through to the pole shoot-out, with Mark Webber second fastest and Sebastian Vettel ninth, and will be joined by Nico Rosberg, who topped the times, Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, Q1 pacesetter Adrian Sutil, the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso and, perhaps thankful for the rain, the McLaren pairing of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez.
As the chequered flag waved over an empty track, the sun reappeared.....