Mercedes scored their first double-points finish of 2011 in Shanghai today as Nico Rosberg finished the Chinese Grand Prix in fifth place, ahead of team-mate Michael Schumacher, who came home eighth.
Rosberg led for a number of laps thanks to an early pit stop, and for much of the race seemed on course for a podium finish, or possibly even a win. Therefore, he was a bit unhappy with his final result.
“Naturally I'm disappointed with the race today as we know that we didn't make the most of our opportunity out there,” said the German. “We've made a big step with the car this weekend which is really nice to see and we will have better races in future. Leading the race for such a long time was a great feeling but we had issues with the fuel consumption which made it really difficult to fight for position. We could have had a podium finish or maybe more today, but we will learn from this together as a team and make sure that we get the results next time.”
Schumacher spent much of his race in midfield battles, most notable with his old rival Fernando Alonso. “That was a lot of racing in one Grand Prix this afternoon and very exciting!” said the seven-time world champion. “I had a lot of fun this afternoon and I'm so pleased to see the hard work of our guys paid off this weekend. We have made a big step forward with our car and it worked very well.
“We are heading towards the first race in Europe now and will bring some upgrades to Istanbul which should help us to improve even more. It is good to leave Asia with a positive feeling.”
Team principal Ross Brawn said that today’s race showed that Mercedes were heading in the right direction. “We had a very encouraging race today from the point of view of our overall pace and performance,” he said. “Nico and Michael did a fantastic job in making use of what they had, and our strategy and pit stops were very good.
“It's disappointing that we had to start looking at fuel saving with Nico which ultimately cost him at least a podium finish. We need to look into why we suffered so much higher fuel consumption in the race than we had experienced in practice, even allowing for the changes in conditions and grip. There was clearly a problem and it's very frustrating for Nico and the team.
“However we can take away positives from this weekend in knowing that if we do a decent job, we can be competitive.”