Michael Schumacher reined in expectations for this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix although he declared himself happy with the consistency of the W03 over long runs. The seven-times champion was second fastest this afternoon behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes continued to show prodigious one-lap pace.
Mercedes' Australian Grand Prix was blighted by high tyre degradation in the race and although he thinks they have taken a step forward in that area, Schumacher doesn't know where that will leave them on Sunday.
“We had a good day on track today, and I am very happy about the work that has been done since Australia. This has enabled us to achieve reasonably consistent long runs which is obviously important in these conditions. Saying that, we also know that everyone works on different programmes on Fridays, so I would guess we have not seen everything yet. We are very much aware that we should not be too optimistic about today’s outcome.”
Teammate Nico Rosberg was fourth fastest behind the other McLaren of Jenson Button but the German was similarly cautious when asked about the team's prospects this weekend.
“We’ve had a decent start today at one of our home races here in Malaysia so I’m quite happy. We learned a lot about how to use our tyres, and I feel things are going in the right direction but I don’t know where we are compared to the others. It will be very interesting how we can manage the situation on Sunday.”
Team Principal Ross Brawn expects track conditions to change constantly during the weekend and knows Mercedes will have to be on their toes.
“We’ve had two good practice sessions today and achieved a lot of positive work. We know that we need to focus on tyre consistency and durability, and we learnt some valuable things today which we can hopefully carry into the race. We also need to make sure that we follow the track evolution over the next couple of days so that we end up with the right car for the race on Sunday. Overall, a very good start to one of our home races here in Malaysia.”