U.S. Grand Prix second practice cancelled

Fri Oct 23, 2015 4:25pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Thunder, lightning and torrential rain washed out second practice at the U.S. Formula One Grand Prix on Friday after Nico Rosberg went fastest for Mercedes in a largely meaningless morning session.

Rosberg's championship-leading team mate Lewis Hamilton, who can seal his third world title on Sunday at the Circuit of the Americas, did only four timed laps in total and was fifth overall.

After delaying the start of the afternoon session indefinitely, with marshals unable to work due to the risk from lightning and the medical helicopter grounded, organisers called it a day.

Those hardy spectators who stayed on had been urged already to seek shelter in their cars.

Formula One drivers are used to competing in the rain, unlike their counterparts in U.S. oval racing, but the track was simply undriveable on Friday with the drainage struggling to cope with the deluge.

The forecast for Saturday, when qualifying is scheduled, was of more heavy rainfall in the Austin area.

Further south, Mexico, which hosts the championship next weekend, is braced for the arrival of one of the most powerful storms in history with Hurricane Patricia heading towards the Pacific Coast.

"I hope tomorrow's better but the forecast doesn't look any good," Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel said as the rain lashed down. "It's a shame for the people in the grandstands."   Continued...

A Williams Formula One pit crew member clears rain water from pit lane ahead of the first practice session of the U.S. F1 Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas October 23, 2015.    REUTERS/Adrees Latif