Nico Rosberg got the better of teamate Michael Schumacher as the two drivers finished fifth and sixth in Mercedes’ first race since returning to Formula 1.
Rosberg started from fifth place on the grid and managed to overtake Lewis Hamilton at Turn 6 of the opening lap to move up to fourth. He later lost that position at the pit stops and remained in fifth right up to the chequered flag. “I had a great start today and was happy to be running in fourth position by the end of the first lap. However I lacked pace on the option tyres in the first stint and struggled for pace.
“Lewis beat me on strategy in the pit stop which we need to analyse later and see what happened. I couldn't quite get [fourth place man] Sebastian [Vettel] at the end as I lost grip in the dirty air when I got close. However fifth place is a good start for us and I am confident that we can develop well from here.”
On his return to Formula 1, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher started seventh and quickly moved up to sixth. He remained in this position after the pit stops and for the rest of the race. Schumacher said he was happy with his finishing position, and believes the team can improve in the coming races. “After three years away, I'm happy to say that I had fun out there today, especially at the beginning with the good start that I had. I can live very well with sixth position and it gives both me and the team a good base to make progress. I have every confidence that we will improve the car.
“Working with the team for our first race together was very positive and the guys did a great job so I would like to thank them for their support in my comeback race. We all know that we have some way to go but we will get there. The season is long.”
Ross Brawn was happy with his drivers after the race and believes they can do better once the car improves. “Nico and Michael did a great job this weekend to finish in fifth and sixth positions and now we need to give them the car to improve on those placings. We were not quick enough today and our race pace was not there to finish further upthe field and challenge for a podium position. We have some hard work ahead but I am confident that we can progress the car strongly in the next few races. The team performed extremely well this weekend and for our first race with our two new drivers, we achieved two strong points-scoring finishes.”
Norbert Haug believes that tyres were the key to success in Bahrain, and that his two drivers couldn’t have improved on their fifth and sixth places. “It was a difficult race weekend for our team with these extremely hot conditions in Manama. We looked better in the practice sessions than during the race and it appears that we could not handle the tyres as well as the teams ahead of us. Fifth position for Nico and sixth place for Michael was the best possible result today. We have some work to do and we are confident that we will catch up soon.”