Mercedes blamed traffic for Nico Rosberg only qualifying thirteenth for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix, whilst Michael Schumacher was apparently unable to ‘maximise’ his dry tyres as he could qualify no higher than eighth.
The team insist that they used the correct tyres strategy in on the drying track at Interlagos but were ultimately disappointed with their qualifying positions.
Schumacher believes that yielding to faster cars during Q3 may have compromised his own flying laps, but was keen to congratulate compatriot Nico Hulkenberg, who claimed the first pole position of his career: “I am somewhat disappointed as the circumstances today were exactly as I had wished them to be,” said Schumacher, who has won this event four times. “I really hoped for more from qualifying but it didn't turn out right for us. I couldn't have gone any quicker on my lap and there were no issues so the only explanation is that my tyres cooled down at the beginning when I had to leave the racing line to let Sebastian and Mark past. It's a shame that it didn't work out better today. Congratulations to Nico HÃ¼lkenberg who did a fantastic lap.”
Rosberg was in no doubt that he should have qualified higher, given the levelling effect provided by the damp track. He blamed Sebastien Buemi for his failure to make it into the top ten: “We were on for a good result in qualifying today but on the drying track, the intermediate tyres were only good for one fast lap and I was blocked by Buemi on my lap in Q2. So that was it for me and it's disappointing to qualify so far down the field when we could have taken advantage of the conditions.”
Ross Brawn agreed with his drivers’ evaluation of qualifying, but insists that the team are in good position to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise in the race tomorrow. “It was a very exciting qualifying session and although we made the right decisions, it didn't quite go our way today,” said the Mercedes Technical Director.
“Nico was baulked on his crucial lap which meant he missed out Q3. If you look at the sector times, he should easily have made it. With Michael, we didn't quite get the dry tyres into their working range at the end of Q3. He got caught up with other cars coming through, had to go offline where the track was still damp, and therefore the temperatures weren't there when he had to push.
“So it didn't quite work out as we planned today but there is still a lot to be gained tomorrow. We are in reasonable positions with a ringside seat for the championship race ahead and will be ready to take advantage where we can.”