Formula 1

Mercedes Lock-Out Fourth Row on Valencia Grid

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Mercedes fulfilled Michael Schumacher‘s qualifying prediction from yesterday, with both drivers securing fourth-row grid slots today in Valencia.

Nico Rosberg will start the European Grand Prix from seventh place, whilst Schumacher himself starts from eighth.

“Yesterday was very busy with a lot of set-up changes but the team and I did a decent job today to improve the car, so I’m quite pleased,” said Rosberg, looking back on the session. “It is difficult out on track this weekend and we have to be careful of overheating the rear tyres – that will certainly be something to watch out for tomorrow.

“I was able to save one set of soft tyres, by running used options in Q2, and this can be important in the race as we aim to score some nice points. I’m looking forward to it.”

Schumacher feels that it may be difficult to race the top six tomorrow and believes that, if it wasn’t for a mistake on his final run, he could have qualified ahead of his team-mate:

“I am ok with today’s qualifying result which I would say was an average one,” said the seven-time world champion. “I might have improved by one place but in the penultimate slow corner, I attacked a bit too early, got oversteer and had to lift for a moment which cost me the place to Nico. But all in all, we came in where we had expected to finish.

“It would be optimistic in my view to expect that we can attack the cars in front of us tomorrow because I think our starting positions realistically reflect where we stand at the moment. So let’s see how the race develops and what we can make out of it tomorrow.”

Team principal Ross Brawn agrees that the team qualified within ‘the natural order’ of the field today, but says that Rosberg and Schumacher are in good shape for tomorrow’s race.

“Qualifying went pretty much to plan today,” commented Brawn. “All of the drivers in Q3 managed reasonable laps, so we fell into the natural order, with Nico and Michael in seventh and eighth positions. The team has done a good job all weekend to maintain our position and get everything out of the current package.

“We are in good shape for the race, particularly Nico with a fresh set of option tyres available, and our high-fuel running has not been too bad. We must be aware of potentially even higher track temperatures tomorrow, but today we achieved the maximum that’s possible for us at the moment. However, our plan and ambition remains to move forward out of that position over the next months.”

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