MERCEDES GP PETRONAS had a challenging afternoon in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang today.
· Nico qualified in P9 and Michael in P11 with both drivers suffering from a lack of consistency from their cars
· Michael lost time on his final run in Q2 with the adjustable rear wing not functioning properly
· Nico progressed to Q3 but suffered similar issues which left him unable to match his pace from Q2
“The team have made some good progress here and I had a decent balance up to Q2 today. Unfortunately I lost that feeling in Q3, which combined with the rear wing issue, meant we weren’t able to get the performance out of the car which is frustrating. The car is better than we have been able to show so far this season but we don’t know exactly why we are not getting more performance at the moment. We need to look into today’s issues now and have a good think to see what can help us improve in the race tomorrow.”
“We had some issues with the rear wing activation today and unfortunately that’s what compromised my last run in Q2. The car became difficult to drive, which is a real shame as it had been working very well during the earlier runs. The performance was much better with the wing, so of course we had to use it, and I would still say that we have made a step forward thanks to the hard work from our guys. We now have to concentrate on tomorrow’s race which we go into with the firm belief that anything can be possible.”
“We had a difficult qualifying session today. We’re still struggling with the consistency of the car and are not giving Nico and Michael the best chance to show what they could achieve. There are times when the car is working well and the pace is evident, however there are too many occasions where things are not functioning properly. We’re quite clearly not where we want to be but will continue to work hard to achieve a more competitive position. It will be a challenging race tomorrow, unless the weather or other events play a part in creating opportunities.”
“Ninth and eleventh positions on the fifth and sixth row of the grid are not the results that we have been aiming for. The team have worked very hard to set the cars up this weekend, however we clearly still have work to do: Nico’s Q2 time was more than four tenths faster than the time he achieved in Q3 owing to an inconsistency of the rear wing, so there is more potential in the car. Our KERS system, which caused problems during the practice sessions and the race in Melbourne, has worked well and reliably so far. Everybody in our team is motivated to make the next steps in order to improve our package. Even though this task is challenging, I am sure that together we will achieve it.”