Heavy rain has ruined qualifying for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Formula One drivers all took part in the first of three qualifying sessions, which saw multiple incidents and left Mercedes Benz driver Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.

However after several delays the second two sessions, which were continually delayed, were abandoned due to persistent rain and fading light.

They are now set to be staged at 11am AEDT on Sunday, ahead of the race scheduled at 5pm.

Race stewards had the option of either holding the two periods in the morning or lining up the grid for the race based solely on positions from Saturday’s first qualifying.

If the grid had been based on the first session, Rosberg would be on pole position for the race, followed by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

McLaren’s Sergio Perez was fourth fastest from Australian Mark Webber and the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa.

Triple world champion Sebastian Vettel dominated both practice sessions on Friday but finished first qualifying in seventh spot, one ahead of Jenson Button.

Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo was 16th quickest and the last driver to make the cut to move into the second session.

Qualifying began in steady rain after a delay of half an hour and the session immediately claimed a number of drivers.

Lewis Hamilton, who finished well down the order, was the first, spinning on the third lap and sustaining minor rear wing damage.

Massa spun wildly and rammed a tyre wall heavily while Webber also had a minor off.

Torro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, Jenson Button and Vettel all took turns to head the list but it was Rosberg who was fastest at the end.

© AAP 2014

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