Mercedes Move Closer to Front in Mixed Qualifying Session

by David Bean

Mercedes recorded their best qualifying result of 2011 in Turkey today, but it was a mixed day for the two drivers in Istanbul.

Nico Rosberg used his single flying lap in Q3 to grab third position on the grid, and will start tomorrow’s race as the best of the rest behind the two Red Bull drivers on the front row.

“I'm very happy with our performance in qualifying and it's amazing to see where we are right now,” said the German. “After a difficult start to the season, we are getting closer to the front and I'm pleased that we are making a small step forward each weekend: thank you to the team for a great job so far. We saved one set of new soft tyres for the race, which will be important in terms of strategy. I'm really looking forward to the race.”

Michael Schumacher was expecting a similar result to that of his team-mate, especially after being second fastest in the morning practice session. On his one attempt at a flying lap in Q3, however, he was forced to settle for eighth place – still his best of the season so far.

“Understandably I am not happy at all with today's qualifying,” said the seven-time world champion. “It was just strange, it seemed that the more I pushed on my last lap, the more went wrong. I was at the limit of what I had in my hand but the car was just sliding around and therefore I never got into my rhythm. It's a real shame after this morning's promising session.”

Team principal Ross Brawn chose to overlook Schumacher’s qualifying position as he gave his comments on the session, instead talking about the improving form of the Silver arrows over the opening four races of the season.

“We're pleased with the steady progress that we've made over the last couple of races,” he said. “At the start of the season, we said that the car had more potential then we were extracting from it, and that's now being proven true. There haven't been any dramatic changes; the team and drivers have just kept their calm, and worked hard to get our package sorted. I'm now hoping we can have a good race tomorrow.”

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