The Monaco Grand Prix ended in disappointment for the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team with Nico Rosberg finishing outside of the points in 11th place and Michael Schumacher retiring on lap 33. Both drivers suffered severe rear tyre degradation in the first stint, which forced early stops and cost valuable track position. This drop-off in tyre performance was not typical of what had been seen in practice, and will now be investigated in detail.
Michael retired on lap 33 with a suspected airbox fire, as he was about to pit under the first Safety Car period. Michael had made a single pit stop on lap 12 for option tyres, having also started on the options. Nico made three stops on laps 15, 33 & 53 with an option/prime/prime/option strategy, finishing the race in 11th position.
Ross was disappointed that the race turned out the way it did, after feeling confident after qualifying and practice that both drivers would have some good opportunities. He said: “The difficulties that we experienced on the first set of tyres, with the super softs falling away from us and graining so early, really dictated our race. We need to look into it as this was surprising after the good pace we had during the practice sessions. We had a few technical problems with the cars in the race but the core issue was the inability to make the first set of tyres last more than ten or twelve laps.”
Norbert felt the same, and obviously today’s results are not what the team were hoping for: “Nico's accident on Saturday morning, from which he thankfully escaped unhurt, was certainly a handicap for us, but our guys did a fantastic job to build the car up in record time ready for qualifying. Michael started fifth but did not make a good getaway and the reason for this will be investigated. As a follow-up, his front wing was damaged in contact with another car at the first corner and this badly handicapped his performance in the first stint. After his pit stop, with a new nose and another set of option tyres, his lap times looked better, but an airbox fire stopped his race when he was about to pit during the first safety car period. In addition to a car that was not handling well, Nico suffered some KERS problems during the race and finished outside the points. Despite the lack of results, I would like to thank everybody in the team for their hard work and dedication throughout a difficult and challenging weekend. We will do a better job in Montreal.”