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Monza qualifying to resume after lengthy rain delay

Safety Car during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix
© XPB 

Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix briefly got underway on time despite heavy rain intensifying once again at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, only to be placed under a lengthy red flag just moments later.

Romain Grosjean crashed just five minutes into the first round of the session. His Haas had just set a time when it aquaplaned off while running down the pit straight.

After hitting the barriers, Grosjean came to a halt on the side of the track at the entrance to the first chicane. The session was red-flagged with 13 and a half minutes remaining on the clock.

At the time of the stoppage, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton had posted the fastest time with a lap of 1:40.128s. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was second albeit two seconds off Hamilton's pace. Grosjean's initial lap had been good enough for third.

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Italian Grand Prix

Sauber's Marcus Ericsson, Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen also had also posted times. Laps from Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat were more than nine seconds off Hamilton's pace. That meant they were too far back to be counted as flying laps.

The Haas was quickly retrieved by the marshalls. However the session remained under red flag conditions due to the weather conditions. The rain did briefly abate at 14:45 local time only to pick up again to a downpour ten minutes later.

The last time that adverse weather forced qualifying to roll over to Sunday was the US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in 2015.

The safety car continued to make sighting laps to check track conditions. However race control remained concerned about the amount of standing water and the risk of further cars aquaplaning.

The final track inspection took place at 16:30 local time. Teams were given a ten minute warning before the session is due to resume at 16:40.

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