Driving rain washes out final practice at F1’s Styrian GP

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SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) – Driving rain washed out the final practice session for Formula One’s Styrian Grand Prix and threatened qualifying later Saturday.

With the Red Bull Ring track drenched amid the incessant downpour, cars were unable to start third practice at the scheduled 12 p.m. local time. Qualifying was scheduled for 3 p.m. (1300 GMT).

In the event of a complete washout Saturday, qualifying could be moved to Sunday morning with the race set to start at 3:10 p.m.

The rain fell so heavily that firefighters had to remove excess water from the roof of one empty hospitality building. The race is being held without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If third practice and qualifying are unable to be held on Sunday morning, the starting grid would be taken from the positions in Friday’s second practice.

That would put Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on pole position ahead of Valtteri Bottas, with his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton only sixth.

Bottas won last Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP, with Hamilton placing fourth.

The race is changing names from last week but is still being held at the same track in Spielberg, which is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.

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A man with an umbrella walks in the rain in the pit lane prior the delayed third practice session for the Styrian Formula One Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring racetrack in Spielberg, Austria, Saturday, July 11, 2020. The Styrian F1 Grand Prix will be held on Sunday. (Leonhard Foeger/Pool via AP)
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