Michael Schumacher has explained that it was a KERS failure that prevented him from completing a flying lap during Q3 in Barcelona today.
The seven-time world champion did exit the pits during the final part of qualifying on harder Pirelli tyre, just in case the likes of Pastor Maldonado and Vitaly Petrov chose to do the same, and saved a set of the precious option tyres in the process. He qualifies tenth and will have a free choice of which compound to start on tomorrow in the race.
“Unfortunately in Q3, my KERS system did not work but we reacted in the best possible way,” Schumacher explained. “We took the decision to go out on prime tyres to be able to react if other cars did the same. As no-one did, we came in without setting a time so we can now choose our strategy for tomorrow.
“I will certainly try to have another of the good starts that I have made recently, make up some positions right at the beginning, and take it from there. With DRS and KERS, overtaking is possible even in Barcelona, so it is important to use your tyres well, and I still have a set of fresh tyres left. I will definitely try to make the best out of it.”
Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg had a more conventional approach to Q3, but could only qualify in seventh. However, he expects the car to perform better on race day:
“With our focus on the race pace this weekend, it was to be expected that we might suffer a little in Qualifying,” he said. “However I am not too disappointed with seventh place as we should be stronger in the race tomorrow, and I believe we can aim to be better than in Istanbul. I have one set of new tyres left which is good for us, and I hope that we can move up with the right strategy.”
Team Principal Ross Brawn was reasonably upbeat about the result. “We had a fairly good qualifying session today whilst being mindful of preparing for the race and being in the best possible position for tomorrow,” he said.
“We clearly couldn't have challenged the cars right at the front of the grid, however Nico did a very good job, and he is in great shape for tomorrow's race. Unfortunately with Michael, we incurred a KERS problem of a nature which made it difficult to think that he could achieve a competitive time, and therefore he did not complete a lap. This has the advantage of giving us maximum choice for his tyre strategy for tomorrow.”