Brazilian rain chaos washes away Vettel title hopes

SAO PAULO: Torrential rain brought havoc to qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday as the famous Interlagos circuit became a water-logged graveyard for Sebastian Vettel's title hopes.

The German driver, who began the weekend with an outside hope of snatching the world title from Jenson Button's grasp, was eliminated in the first qualifying session when his Red Bull slid all over the rain-soaked surface.

Vettel was only 16th fastest in a time of 1:25.009, over two seconds off the pace set by Nico Rosberg in his Williams who clocked 1min 22.828sec.

Rubens Barrichello was fifth fastest in his Brawn in 1:24.100 with Button a place further back in 1:24.297 with both men, still with the title in their sights, comfortably into the second qualifying session.

Earlier, Giancarlo Fisichella spun off in his Ferrari and was left fuming at the conditions before the session was halted.

"It's impossible to drive. Crazy. It's dangerous everywhere, even in the pit lane. They need to do something. I aquaplaned and the anti-stall didn't work again," said the Italian.

World champion Lewis Hamilton was also a first session casualty with his McLaren, set up for dry running, was only 18th fastest.

"The conditions were awful, but, our car was terrible," said Hamilton.

"It was a pretty poor performance from us. We couldn't even go flat-out on the straights. That's how bad it was. We didn't have a wet weather set-up, which probably contributed to it."