After a promising start to the European Grand Prix weekend, there was disappointment for the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team in Valencia today as Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher qualified in 12th and 15th positions for tomorrow’s race.
In the first qualifying session, Nico completed one run with Michael having two outings on the prime tyre for the pair to progress in ninth and 12th places respectively. Both drivers started on the option tyre in Q2 but switched to the prime for their second run where Nico’s lap was quick enough only for 12th place whilst Michael hit traffic and finished in 15th position.
“It’s very frustrating to be so far back on the grid although my lap was good today. There was just no more performance to get out of the car. We had a few issues this morning so we had to make a compromise on our upgrade package and that made the difference of being in the top ten. It’s not easy to understand what happened as we hoped to take a step forward here but we haven’t got the best of our updates yet and we need to understand the tyres quickly. The car will be stronger in the race so we stay positive and see what will happen.”
“Obviously I am disappointed with my position today and it is certainly not where I want to be. I had to fight with two things. Firstly, as in Canada we have a general problem with the tyres and we can’t get them to work in qualifying. Secondly, I had some difficulties with the brakes and I was locking the front right all the time. This made things extra difficult and is something we need to understand. However our new updates are definitely an advantage, although this was not evident in the performance. I could have gone maybe three-tenths quicker on my last lap if Buemi had not been in the way but it would still not have been enough for Q3. But we are fighters and we know this sport long enough. Our starts are good and with more fuel on board, things do not look so bad. We will certainly try to make the best out of our situation tomorrow.”
“Clearly that was a difficult qualifying session. After Montreal, we thought that we understood our issues with the tyres but they are still proving to be a challenge. The team and drivers did as well as they could today but we do not have the pace at the moment and we are not making the tyres work well, particularly in qualifying. We are pushing very hard to develop the car and sometimes in pushing so hard, you trip over. We need to reflect, assess and see what our next steps should be.”
“It is a disappointing qualifying result today for our team. Of course it was very tight, but if you are six-tenths slower than the best lap time, then you end up in twelfth place like Nico. Michael hit traffic in the last sector of his fastest lap which prevented him from improving further. We will certainly not give up on improving our package as we have done continuously since the season began but our competitors have been doing the same. Our race pace tomorrow should be better.”