Michael Schumacher said the decision not to complete a flying lap in Q3 this afternoon was ‘tactical’ and designed to save tyres for the tomorrow’s race in Singapore.
The German eventually qualified eighth, just one place behind Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, who did choose to complete a flying lap.
Schumacher thinks that there could be plenty of opportunities presenting themselves over the course of the race and, especially considering his record of excellent starts in recent races, could be in with a chance of a decent points haul tomorrow.
“It was quite a tactical qualifying session, in which we chose not to run in Q3 to save new tyres for the race,” explained the seven-times world champion. “In theory, this should be worth some time over the race distance, so it was a calculated risk worth taking. As we all know from the past, a lot of incidents can happen during the Singapore Grand Prix, so I will certainly go for any opportunity which might occur. I will definitely keep my fingers crossed for Sebastian to clinch his second world title here tomorrow.”
Rosberg, some would argue, could have achieved exactly the same qualifying result without wasting an extra set of tyres, especially as neither his team-mate nor the two Force India drivers who qualified behind him bothered to complete a lap in Q3. However, the German feels that he was right to try and set at decent time in qualifying.
“I had a good fast lap in Q3 and we were able to take the most out of the car today so I’m quite satisfied,” he said. “Starting in seventh place was the maximum that we could have achieved, although Massa was very close so it was definitely worth trying to catch him. Being on the clean side at the grid gives me a good position for the start, so I will try to make up positions there and score some good points. I think it will be an exciting race here with all the new things like DRS and the Pirelli tyres.”
Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn thinks that Schumacher could have out-qualified Rosberg had he decided to set a lap, but thinks that both drivers are well placed for the race tomorrow.
“It was a fairly straightforward qualifying session for us today and we got the maximum performance from the car,” he said. “We were mindful of the need for good tyres in the race, and with both drivers saving a set of supersofts, we are in reasonable shape for tomorrow.
“Michael decided not to set a lap time in Q3 for this reason; he could have challenged Nico but it was more sensible to save the tyres. We have moved forward with the car, and the changes that we have made for this weekend look to be working well. We look forward to an interesting and challenging race tomorrow, and there should be a lot of opportunities.”