The need to run two stop strategy in this afternoon’s grand prix ensured that Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg were kept entertained as the were forced to overtake in the closing stages of the race.
The duo finished sixth and seventh respectively, although Schumacher thinks, with a few more laps, he might have finished a bit higher.
“It was a fun race today – although I must admit that, following our performance on Friday (when Schumacher was fastest in FP1), I had secretly hoped we would be able to move up the field,” said the seven-time world champion.
“We had a tricky first stint. After that, everything went really well, we were on the pace and I think we showed a clear upwards trend today. I kind of ran out of laps this afternoon and, if the race had been a bit longer, I’d have been able to battle even further forward.
“Overall, though, we got everything out of it today. Now we need to keep this trend going – and everybody in the team is working hard on it.”
For team-mate Rosberg, this was his best finished since the European Grand Prix five races ago, something that he was pretty pleased about.
“Seventh place is an improvement on my recent finishes so I’m satisfied with that today, although there may have been potential for more,” he said. “I had no grip on my option tyres in the first stint, which were the same set that gave me problems in Q3.
“After the first stop, I had very good pace and was able to set a few fastest race laps and move up the field with some nice overtakes. It’s nice to have had a better finish to a race weekend and I’m looking forward to more of the same in Singapore in a couple of weeks.”
Team principal Ross Brawn said that the team need to understand why both drivers struggled on their tyres in the first stint, but praised both of them for their efforts today.
“Both our drivers put in strong, aggressive and controlled performances today,” said Brawn. “We knew that a one-stop strategy was not feasible for us this afternoon, so we went into the race planning to make two stops and knew the drivers would have to race hard to make it work against other cars who were one-stopping.
“The disappointment today was that both drivers really struggled on their first set of tyres – perhaps because of how we used them in qualifying, running more than one timed lap in Q3, or perhaps another factor, which is something we will have to analyse. We lost all our time in this phase of the race but, thereafter, the performance of both cars looked good.
“Nico’s fastest lap shows that our level of performance today was reasonable and both he and Michael were consistently among the fastest in the second half of the race. Sixth and seventh places are far from perfect but we can be positive about an exciting race, running the right strategy for our current situation and two great drives from Michael and Nico.”