Mercedes were once again left confused by their lack of pace today in India. After showing good form earlier in the session, Nico Rosberg will only start tenth on the grid. For teammate Michael Schumacher, things were even worse and he will start tomorrow’s race from fourteenth.
“We had a tough qualifying session today and I cannot yet really explain why, particularly when I compare the times to what I did this morning. In practice, we were able to run similar lap times with much more fuel in the car but, for whatever reason, we were unable to get the tyres into the right working window and generate enough grip this afternoon,” the seven times champion said.
“That means I am starting from quite an unpromising position tomorrow, but it also makes our tactics much simpler: we have to look forward and battle hard.”
A strategy call was the reason that Rosberg did not set a time in Q3. It is a tactic the Chinese Grand Prix winner hopes will put him in a good position to score points tomorrow after two consecutive retirements.
“In terms of our strategy for the race, it was better for us not to run in Q3 as it should give us a better pace tomorrow with fresh tyres. Of course it’s not a nice feeling to be waiting in the pits and watching the others out there however. It seems that the race will be tough on the tyres with very long stints, so I should have an advantage compared to the cars in front of me,” he said.
“I’ll be able to tell you tomorrow if it was the right decision but I’m reasonably happy today as we looked like we have made a small improvement here.”
“We expect to be racing in a very closely matched group of cars behind the leading teams tomorrow and we will have to race well in order to try and move up the field,” Ross Brawn concluded.