Formula 1

Mercedes GP Struggle With Technical Issues in Free Practice

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Both Mercedes GP drivers had to struggle against technical problems during the two practice sessions this morning in Australia.

Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg posted good times in the top half but their lap times round the Albert Park circuit were affected by issues with both cars.

Rosberg explained: “it was a decent day for us. I had a positive morning and a good long run this afternoon which was useful to see how the tyres behaved.”

“However it was a bit difficult for me during P2 because a few things were not working properly on the car.”

“It’s difficult to say where we are the moment but I think we are in reasonable shape and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Team boss Ross Brawn was happy to get the season underway and was optimistic going forward once the technical gripes have been resolved.

He said: “it is good to finally get the racing action underway here in Melbourne. Today went reasonably well for us although some small problems on both cars this afternoon did have an effect.”

“This was the first opportunity to try the new tyres, KERS and rear wing system in a race weekend situation which was extremely useful for the drivers and the team.”

“There is a lot to evaluate and complete tomorrow before qualifying but I’m happy with our start to the weekend.”

Seven-time World Champion Schumacher also had praise for the new Pirelli tyres which are different from the ones used during testing.

Degradation was high in testing and it was feared pit stops during the race could run to four per driver but the practice sessions proved otherwise.

He concluded: “I would like to give a compliment to the Pirelli tyres which worked very well here today.”

“We will sort out some issues on our car for the rest of the weekend but I am still happy with what we have seen here so far.”

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