The all-German driver line-up in a German-owned team failed to impress in front of the German crowd at Hockenheim in qualifying today, with Michael Schumacher failing to make it through to Q3, and his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg qualifying only two places higher than the seven-time world champion in ninth.
Just 0.006 seconds separated the duo at the end of Q2, but the dividing line fell directly between two drivers so only Rosberg could participate in the pole-position shoot-out. His best lap was over a second slower than Sebastian Vettel’s – the German pole-sitter.
“I was hoping for a strong weekend here in Hockenheim in front of our fans but unfortunately I struggled a lot in qualifying today,” said Rosberg. “It’s really disappointing and it seems that we are just not making our developments work as well as we hoped this weekend which we need to look into.
“I hope that we find the problem with the car otherwise it is difficult to explain why we are not closer to the front. I had a lot of oversteer and that made it really difficult as I had to keep coming down on the front wing levels which did not help.
“I will do my best tomorrow to achieve a good result but it will be difficult from this position.”
Schumacher will be frustrated not to finish higher in his first German Grand Prix for four years, but will be relieved that he was not beaten heavily by his younger teammate on home soil.
“There isn’t much more to say about qualifying other than the result was what was achievable for us today,” said Schumacher. “Clearly it was disappointing because we had expected to be able to fight for fifth or sixth place but from the difference between our two cars, you can see our results are what the potential was.
“If I want to find something positive, it is that at least I will be starting from the better side of the grid and in the end, I prefer 11th to 10th place because of that. I had some issues with my brakes during qualifying but I do not rate that a real factor for the performance today.
“We are a bit stronger in race pace than in qualifying but we clearly wanted to achieve more for our fans. Let’s hope that tomorrow the race will develop in a way that we can still show them something.”
Ross Brawn agrees that the two drivers got the best they could out of their cars today, and is determined to find the reasons for Mercedes’ lack of pace. “We obviously had a disappointing qualifying today at one of our home races, particularly considering the promise that we showed over the practice sessions,” said the Mercedes team principal.
“With the changeable weather conditions over the weekend and a new aero package on the car, clearly we haven’t understood how to get the best from it here. That’s eventually shown in qualifying today and the drivers were not able to extract any more performance from the car than their respective positions.
“We will look at all of the data available and understand what is happening to ensure that we make better use of the package in the future.”