After performing well in Turkey a fortnight ago, Mercedes seemed to take a step backwards in Canada after Nico Rosberg finished sixth and Michael Schumacher finished outside the points in Montreal.
Rosberg had a poor start to the grand prix, and pitted on lap 5 to change from option tyres to the harder prime tyre. He took advantage of this early change to make up positions and completed what was a reasonably quiet race, with only one additional stop later in the race for a fresh set of primes.
“Sixth place was probably the best result that we could have achieved today so I'm pretty happy,” said Rosberg. “It's been a difficult weekend with a poor qualifying performance yesterday due to the tyres not working properly and I was unlucky on the first lap today to lose so many places from the chaos in front of me.
“From there, I was able to do some good overtaking and push to make up the positions and our pace was quick. We had a great strategy but it was really difficult to manage the tyres. I drove smoothly to control the graining but every time I looked in my mirrors, it was getting worse.
“Thankfully the primes held after my second stop so we were able to finish with sixth place and get some decent points moving me up to sixth in the Drivers' Championship.”
Schumacher made a good start to the race, getting up to eighth on the first lap after starting from a lowly thirteenth. He picked up a puncture in a collision with Robert Kubica, forcing an unscheduled pit stop. While nursing well-worn tyres, Schumacher was passed by the two Force India drivers on the final lap, and finished the race eleventh, narrowly missing out on points.
“At the start, everything went great and we made up places as we had been hoping for,” said Schumacher, who has won this race on seven occasions. “The first stop was perfectly timed so it was looking quite promising.
“Then I had a puncture on the front right tyre after my first pit stop, after I got together with Kubica, and that obviously decided my race. From there, I was stuck in traffic and there was nothing more to do because today our weapons were not very sharp.
“Towards the end, I was trying as hard as I could to defend myself but it was only possible to a certain degree and my tyres were just ruined after having done more than half the race distance.
“I was fighting cars with a good top speed which was quite tough. Otherwise I would have been in a good position I think so we have something to take away to the next races.”
Ross Brawn said that Mercedes were disappointed not to come away with more points and blamed racing incidents for the relatively low finishes. “We had a messy start to the race which unfortunately is what happens when you start in the midfield. Nico was blocked and Michael was hit which broke part of his front wing. Nico then had a very good race to recover up to sixth place.
“We called the tyres perfectly, Nico was fast where he needed to be, looked after the car when required and generally had an excellent race. Michael was looking strong in the first phase of the race and was very well-placed.
“Unfortunately the incident with Kubica punctured the right front tyre and coming in for the extra stop meant we were out of phase with where we wanted to be with the tyres. With hindsight, it was over-ambitious to try and get the option to last as long as we did and Michael really struggled towards the end.
“We've come away with some points from the weekend but not as many as we would have hoped.”
Norbert Haug recognised that Canada had provided an excellent race for the neutral, and was quick to congratulate McLaren – who also use the Mercedes engine – for their success this weekend: “It was a great race today and fantastic for the sport and of course the spectators here in Montreal and worldwide in front of their televisions.
“Our speed looked much better today than in qualifying and it seemed like we were in for a good race with Michael as high as third place in the early phase of the race. Without the puncture, Michael could certainly have achieved a respectable result.
“For Nico, sixth place was a good result and posting the third fastest race lap shows that our speed compared to our competitors was better than yesterday in qualifying. However we need to improve our car further and we will.
“Congratulations to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes on their second one-two victory in a row. The victory marks the 72nd win powered by Mercedes-Benz in 224 races since 1997 which is an impressive score. Well done to McLaren and our committed engine guys in Brixworth and Stuttgart.”