Michael Schumacher‘s quest for more points in Korea was ended through no fault of his own after Renault driver Vitaly Petrov careered into the back of him on Lap 16 of the race and bringing his afternoon to a premature end.
Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg had to settle for eighth place and just four points after being passed by Toro Rosso‘s Jaime Alguersuari on the final lap.
“Another unfortunate end to a race which could have been encouraging today,” was Schumacher’s summary of events. “It’s a big pity as the car was again very good in race trim and I had already gained some positions. It would have been interesting to see what was possible, and I think we could certainly have taken some points.
“As for the incident, I didn’t see Vitaly coming; I was just suddenly spun into a direction I had not intended to go, and then I saw my rear wing hanging off. It was unfortunate but these things happen when you fight hard – that’s racing.”
Rosberg was running as high as fifth at some points during the race, but blames degradation on the prime tyres for his relatively lowly finishing position.
“I had good speed at the start of the race today but after we changed to the prime tyres, it became more difficult as the degradation was too strong,” said the German. “I had some nice battles against Jenson and the Ferraris, and was pushing hard to defend my position against Felipe and Fernando in the middle stint. During this, I flat-spotted my front tyres so I had to pit earlier than expected which made my last stint on the primes very long. I didn’t have enough grip by the end and so I just wasn’t able to defend the position against Jaime. A difficult race for me today but I’m still happy to score some points.”
Ross Brawn was pleased with his drivers’ pace early in the race, and is encouraged by the performance Mercedes have shown in Korea this weekend.
“The early stages of the race looked encouraging and both drivers were making good progress on the option tyres, with Nico fighting among the top three teams and jumping the Ferraris thanks to more strong pit work,” said the Mercedes team principal. “We fitted prime tyres to both cars at the first stop in order to ensure we could complete a two-stop race – something that would have been marginal if we had run options in the second stint.
“Nico was driving well but had a big flat spot on his left-front tyre on lap 27, which forced him to pit out of sequence for another set of primes. From that point on, he had to nurse the tyres for over half the race distance to the flag. He did this extremely well, climbing back from P14 to P7, but was unable to hold off Alguersuari on the final lap, whose tyres were ten laps fresher.
“As for Michael’s incident, he was driving well, making up positions and minding his own business when somebody simply forgot to brake at turn three. Although we didn’t score points to our full potential today, there were encouraging signs of our competitiveness for the remaining three races of the season, and we will aim to build on this in India – which will be a new adventure for us all.”