Rosberg Shines for Mercedes as Schumacher Clobbers Barriers in Monte Carlo


Nico Rosberg was the top driver for Mercedes in Monaco today as he was the third fastest driver in each of the two Thursday practice sessions.

Team-mate Michael Schumacher had a more difficult day, with a small accident in the closing minutes of the morning session. He was seventh fastest by the end of the afternoon.

“It's great to be on the track again here in Monaco,” said Rosberg, who completed 64 laps for the team today. “I felt very comfortable from the beginning and we did quite a good job on the set-up. It can be difficult here to find the right settings as you have to put a lot of things together such as brake balance and tyre degradation, but we had a decent day and I'm happy with our start into the weekend.

“The tyres are not as bad as we expected and the degradation will be quite low, so pole position will be a bit more important than I expected before today.”

Schumacher thinks that Mercedes are closer to the front-running teams this weekend as he explained his disagreement with the barriers this morning.

“Our gap to the front seems to be less here than in Barcelona,” said the seven-time world champion. “With my crash this morning, we had made a set-up change for the run and I locked up braking for turn one. After that, my decision to go down the escape road was too late, which is why I hit the barrier.

“The mechanics did a super job and the car this afternoon was just as quick as this morning. What Nico showed in terms of one-lap pace looks good, and our long runs were also quite reasonable.”

Ross Brawn echoed Rosberg’s point about the unexpectedly good life of the supersoft tyre, and declared himself happy with this Monaco Thursday.

“We had a productive day with lots of good work achieved,” said the Mercedes technical director. “The team recovered extremely well from Michael's incident this morning, and gave him a good car for the afternoon session.

“We worked on high and low fuels levels with the two tyre compounds, and the tyres seemed to hold up reasonably well, probably better than we expected, which will be taken into account for Sunday's race. Overall, today was a good start to our Monaco weekend.”