Formula One’s showcase Monaco Grand Prix was delayed by heavy rain on Sunday, with drivers carrying out two formation laps behind the safety car before red flags were waved and they returned to the pits.
“It’s raining like crazy,” Ferrari’s pole-sitter and local favourite Charles Leclerc said over team radio before the race director called a halt.
The start was originally scheduled for 1500 local (1300GMT) but the formation lap was delayed to 1509, when the rain was not heavy, and then 1516 behind the safety car as conditions deteriorated.
No time was set for the revised start and the cars were still in the pits at 1545.
The governing FIA said race control had been monitoring a severe downpour that was rapidly approaching the street circuit and decided to delay the start accordingly for safety reasons, given there had been no wet running.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, whose championship leader Max Verstappen starts fourth, suggested the race could have got going at the appointed time, although it was correct to stop it later.
“If we were starting on pole position we would be a lot less happy with the weather than starting on the second row because it creates a lot of opportunities,” he told Sky Sports television.
“As we are in Monaco it is a bit of a lottery now.”
Monaco is famous for its lack of overtaking on the tight and twisty streets but slippery conditions make the chances of a mistake far greater.