Mercedes had an extremely disappointing qualifying in Valencia as both drivers failed to make it past Q2, and Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher will start tomorrow’s European Grand Prix from 12th and 15th.
Nico Rosberg, who was actually the fastest driver in the first practice session yesterday, thinks that he reached the limit of the performance of his MGP W01 today, and hopes that their race pace helps them make up some positions tomorrow.
“It’s very frustrating to be so far back on the grid although my lap was good today,” said Rosberg. “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.”
Michael Schumacher nearly went out of qualifying during Q1, but managed to escape this embarrassment by setting a good time on his final flying lap. The seven-time world champion said that reliability issues and traffic contributed to his poor grid position, but is optimistic of making up some ground tomorrow.
“Obviously I am disappointed with my position today and it is certainly not where I want to be,” said Schumacher. “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.
“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 sobad. We will certainly try to make the best out of our situation tomorrow.”
Ross Brawn said that tyre management was a problem today in qualifying – something that Mercedes will continue to investigate. “Clearly that was a difficult qualifying session,” he said. “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.”