MELBOURNE, Australia - Pouring rain and several crashes has resulted in the qualifying round of the 2013 Australian Grand Prix to be postponed to Sunday, March 17.Rain pelted down on the Albert park circuit delaying qualifying. Once qualifying got under way a number of drivers soon found themselves slipping off track and crashing into debris and barriers.SIX DRIVERS ELIMINATEDSteady rain made for chaotic driving conditions in first 20-minute session before the six slowest drivers were eliminated, leaving 16 drivers to continue to the second session.Drivers were forced to sit in their team garages in the pit lane waiting for the rain to ease before the decision came to postpone qualifying.Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was fastest during Q1 followed by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Lotus' Romain Grosjean.Williams' Pastor Maldonado and Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez were among six drivers eliminated along with Marussia duo Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi.Caterham's Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic were also eliminated.QUALIFYING NOW AT 2AM SA LOCALMcLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh was among those urging stewards to base the grid on Q1 times; unsurprisingly as his drivers Sergio Perez and Jenson Button performed above expectation in the sodden session by setting the fourth and eighth-fastest times respectively.Whitmarsh said: "The stewards can decide the grid based what has already happened or decide to run Q2 and Q3 tomorrow. However, it's a very busy program tomorrow and I'm sure some of the historic events won't be pleased if they are moved."Hamilton spun his Mercedes at Turn 2, glanced the wall and came to a stop but was able to reverse his car and rejoin the session, suffering some rear wing end plate damage.Perez showed great skill when avoiding sliding into the barriers.Qualifying will now start six hours before the season-opening race on Melbourne's Albert Park street circuit. Second and third qualifying sessions will take place from 02:00am (SA local time).2013 Australian Grand Prix: Qualifying session 11 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min43.380 2 Fernando Alonso (Spain Ferrari 1min43.850 3 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min44.284 4 Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1min44.300 5 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min44.472 6 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min44.635 7 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min44.657 8 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min44.688 9 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - 1min44.871 10 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min45.456 11 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min45.545 12 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - Mercedes 1min45.601 13 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1min45.930 14 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1min46.450 15 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams1min47.328 16 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1min47.330 17 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min47.614 18 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1min47.776 19 Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia 1min48.147 20 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia 1min48.909 21 Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham 1min49.519 22 Charles Pic (France) Caterham 1min50.626 First practice Second practiceThird practice Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Formula 1 season – fresh reports every day.