Polesitter Johnny Cecotto Jr made a poor getaway, allowing Arden team-mate Mitch Evans to lead.
Fabio Leimer challenged Cecotto for second as they braked for the first corner, where Cecotto braked too late and understeered into the barrier, with Leimer following suit and crashing over the back of him. Then Tom Dillmann went over the back of Marcus Ericsson.
Behind them, Kevin Ceccon speared into the back of Sam Bird, removing the Briton's rear wing.
Jolyon Palmer was then spun around by Julian Leal, and they were collected by Robin Frijns, Alexander Rossi and caused the majority of the field to screech to a halt.
Bird has had a new rear wing fitted on the grid. The race is scheduled to restart at 12.10 local time.
- Sports & Recreation
- Johnny Cecotto Jr
- Tom Dillmann