Drivers have given their support to the FIA over the decision to keep delaying the United States Grand Prix qualifying session over a period of three hours before eventually opting to postpone it until Sunday morning.
With FP3 going ahead as planned, despite the Circuit of the Americas being closed to fans due to flooding in the surrounding area, qualifying was originally scheduled to get underway at 13.00 local time.
However, with rain and wind intensifying, qualifying was delayed by 30mins on four occasions until 16.00 when it was finally decided to can the session altogether in favour of running it at 9am on the morning before the race.
A bitter disappointment for the fans that did brave out the conditions, particularly as most had been forced to miss FP3, though drivers say they felt sorry for those that stayed, they insist it couldn't have been helped.
“They couldn't have known two hours ago how the weather was going to be right now,” said Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. “They did all they could to try and have qualifying today, they were trying to make the right calls at all times and that was not easy.”
“It is obviously easier now that the conditions stayed similar all day long and it kept raining all day to say that this delay was possible to say earlier,” added Fernando Alonso. “If you say at 11 a.m. that qualifying will not happen and then there is a stop of rain for one or two hours, everyone will say why did you decide so early? It is easy always afterwards, but hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans tomorrow.”
“It was the right thing to do,” continued Jenson Button. “Practice this morning was initially okay and then it got very wet and nobody could run because it was too wet, too much aquaplaning and you're not in control at all. I think this afternoon it was the right thing to do. Maybe if we'd decided to do it three hours earlier it would have been better for the fans in one respect, but also we wanted to get out there and drive and put on a good show for the fans so delaying it every half an hour wasn't a lot of fun, I'm sure for the fans, but hopefully they'll be back tomorrow.”