Mercedes AMG Petronas' home Grand Prix got off to the worst possible start as both of their drivers hit trouble on Friday at Hockenheim. Nico Rosberg was competitive, finishing the afternoon in second position, but it was later revealed that his gearbox from Silverstone has to be changed, bringing with it a five-place grid penalty.
“We learned a lot today as we were able to test in the different track conditions, and use the wet, intermediate and dry tyres. So I guess we are well prepared for whatever the weekend brings. Unfortunately we have to change my race gearbox here as a precaution after discovering an issue after Silverstone. So I will receive a five-place penalty which is a shame for our home race but I will push hard to gain a good result. As we have seen this season, a lot can happen in the race.”
Teammate Michael Schumacher won't start qualifying with the same handicap but the three-time Hockenheim winner damaged his car with a heavy crash at the Mobil 1 Kurve this afternoon. Schumacher dropped a wheel on the slippery white line, a prime hazard in wet conditions, and later took full responsibility for the crash.
“The way I ended the second session was obviously not part of the plan and I’m sorry that my mistake has given my guys even more work to do this evening. I simply slid off track because I lost a little concentration: we were talking on the radio and I was altering some settings at the same time. But that’s all part of the game. Overall, the session went ok, even though we didn’t do too much running in the first session because the conditions were a bit too inconsistent. I think that qualifying will probably be wet tomorrow, so today’s weather was useful in that respect. Now we need to do more work on the computer to tease out the insights we weren’t able to get from our track running.”
Team Principal Ross Brawn played down the effect of Schumacher's accident and is fairly happy with where Mercedes stand after the opening day's running.
“We had two very productive sessions here at Hockenheim today to start our home Grand Prix weekend. We had some new things to try on the car which we had the opportunity to try in the dry and the wet. The car seems reasonably well balanced but we will have a good look at all of the data tonight to see how we want to proceed tomorrow. Michael's incident on the wet track at the end was a little unfortunate but it didn't cost us any running time.”