MERCEDES GP PETRONAS drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher qualified in seventh and 11th places respectively at Albert Park in Melbourne today ahead of Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Both drivers used the option tyre, the soft Pirelli compound, throughout Qualifying. Nico & Michael completed one run only in Q1 finishing in P7 & P10. They did two runs in Q2 with Michael narrowly missing out on a place in Q3 by 0.089s, qualifying in P11. Nico went for two runs in Q3 and made a slight mistake on his quickest lap, finishing in P7. Having used only the option tyre in Qualifying, the team have all three sets of new prime tyres available for the race.
“I’m disappointed as when I went to bed last night, I was hopeful of a good qualifying performance. In the morning, a few things didn’t work on my car, but the team did a good job and almost all of the systems were working for Qualifying, so we need to find out what happened. I did make a small mistake in Q3 which possibly cost me a place but it hasn’t quite come together for us this weekend. One good thing is that I will start on the clean side of the grid, and we will do our best to score some good points tomorrow.”
“Clearly that was not an ideal start to the season, and I cannot deny that I am disappointed. It’s not about that KERS only worked intermittently or that I could probably have made it to Q3, but it is because our performance did not turn out as we expected. From our testing experience, we were around the pace of Ferrari, however this did not translate today. We faced more problems here than at the test with several issues throughout the whole weekend. We now have to look deeply into it to understand why it turned out to be like this, because for the moment we are not where we wanted to be.”
“Without doubt, today was quite a disappointing qualifying session for the team. We expected to be more competitive however we haven’t got the car working as well as we had hoped today. The fundamentals are good but we’ve had rather too many challenges this weekend to be able to get the most out of it. We are in good shape for the race tomorrow in terms of tyre availability and the car looked pretty reasonable on the longer runs so let’s wait and see what happens.”
“From the first practice session onwards yesterday, we had some technical issues on both cars which handicapped Nico and Michael in setting up their cars properly. Michael had a KERS issue during Q2 which probably prevented him from progressing to Q3. Nico made a good step from the final practice session to Q3 but unfortunately locked the front wheel braking into the first corner going into his quickest lap. He pushed to the limit and I certainly will not criticise. Our performance in Melbourne so far has not been where we expected it to be after the last test in Barcelona. However everybody in our team will try to get a better result tomorrow.”