Mercedes had a disappointing final race in Brazil as Nico Rosberg struggled with oversteer all day and came home in only seventh place, and Michael Schumacher had an early altercation with Bruno Senna and finished down in P15.
“Today wasn’t an ideal ending to the season, and although I scored some points, I expected to finish higher than P7,” said Rosberg. “I didn’t get a good start, and I had problems with my tyres overheating as the track temperatures were very high. So I had to manage my tyres very carefully during the whole race which impacted on the pace.
“Now I’m looking ahead and I hope we can do better in 2012. I look forward to an exciting time in the winter as we work hard to develop a better car for next year.”
Schumacher blamed lack of experience on Senna’s part for the accident. The race stewards agreed that Senna was in the wrong and penalised the Brazilian. This was little comfort for Schumacher however, who suffered a puncture in the incident and was relegated to the back of the grid whilst he nursed the car back to the pits for a new set of tyres.
“It was a bit of a shame today with the incident with Bruno, which was caused perhaps due to some lack of experience, but then those things happen,” said the seven-time world champion, philosophically. “Otherwise I think we could have had a nice race with some solid points. After the collision, all I could do was try to fight as much as possible, and hope for rain which did not come.
“In the first stint after the incident, my car was not well-balanced with a lot of oversteer. Unfortunately we could not change this at the pit stop which handicapped the balance in the second stint, whereas in the last stint the balance was good.
“We very much look forward to next season now. With all the effort that is being put into the development of the car, I am confident we can make another step forward to where Mercedes belongs; fighting at the top.”
Team principal Ross Brawn summarised the race that each of his drivers had, and then thanked various people for their efforts this season.
“Nico didn’t have a great car balance today, struggling with oversteer, and he had to look after the tyres very carefully,” Brawn explained. “He experienced high levels of degradation and consequently had a frustrating afternoon trying to manage the balance, in a situation where the tyres were particularly sensitive.
“Michael had a good battle with Senna in the early laps, and his pass at the start of lap 10 was clear-cut. However, Senna showed his inexperience trying to defend a position that he had already lost, and the contact ruined Michael’s race. After an unplanned stop to replace his punctured tyre, Michael was able to demonstrate the car’s innate pace, thanks to a better car balance, and his lap times looked reasonably competitive.
“I want to say thank you to all the team in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart, whose efforts have not waned at any point during a long season. There are accomplishments we can be proud of this season, such as our consistently strong pit stops, and we know that we need to put everything together next year.
“Finally, I would like to highlight the excellent support we have enjoyed from all our partners in 2011. Formula One is a true team sport, and they have played an integral role in helping us build towards a more successful future.”