Michael Schumacher was at a loss to explain how Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg was nearly eight tenths of second faster than during qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix today in Delhi.
The seven-time world champion missed out on a place in Q3 by just 0.018 seconds and qualified twelfth (to be upgraded to eleventh after various penalties are applied to other drivers).
“Qualifying today was not really very good for us,” said Schumacher. “At first I hit some traffic, and then on my final run in Q2, there was again vibrations on the set of tyres which I used which was not helpful. Saying that, this certainly does not explain the time gap to Nico so we need to understand what the reason was for that and get on top of it.
“As for the race tomorrow, this should work out better for me, and my aim undoubtedly is to score some points. I’m not really sure which side of the grid will be the better one, so I will just take it from there and try to gain as much as possible.”
Rosberg did make it into Q3, and qualified seventh. The German felt he could have gone faster, but his final run at the end of the session was ruined by yellow flags.
“I’m pleased that we made a step forward today but we could perhaps have finished higher,” he said. “In Q1, I hit a kerb quite heavily and damaged the floor which lost some of the car’s downforce for the rest of qualifying.
“I was on my quickest lap at the end of Q3 but unfortunately I had to slow down for the yellow flag after Felipe’s incident so that cost me some time. I will push hard to gain places tomorrow and have a good race on this fantastic track. I’m guessing it will be an exciting race and the Indian people should be proud to have one of the best tracks in the world of motorsport now!”
Ross Brawn thinks that his drivers are well placed to do well in tomorrow’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix, and says that he is very much looking forward to this historic event.
“It was an exciting and tense qualifying session today,” said the Mercedes team principal. “We got caught out a little in traffic on occasions which didn’t help as it was particularly close out there.
“It’s a shame that we didn’t get through to Q3 with Michael, and he was unhappy with his final set of tyres. Nico did a great job, especially considering that he was struggling a little with the car yesterday, so all credit to him and his team for getting the car in good shape for qualifying. Our runs on high fuel this weekend have been encouraging so we are looking forward to the race tomorrow at this impressive new track.”