Mercedes’ disappointing Japanese Grand Prix weekend continued today with neither driver able to reach Q3. The Brackley-based squad had a problematic build-up and thins didn’t get any better in qualifying with Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg thirteenth and fifteenth. Schumacher will also lose ten places after his error in Singapore and expects a tough race tomorrow.
“It was a shame that we couldn’t do more today, after things hadn’t looked too bad this morning, but we simply didn’t get the performance together. Although we should also say that, knowing the high-speed characteristics of this circuit, we didn’t necessarily expect to look in great shape here. Perhaps I could have made it through to Q3, because the data showed that I lost two-tenths in turn 11 because of traffic, but I wasn’t quite sure what Hamilton was doing ahead of me. I saved a lot of tyre sets and in that respect got the maximum out of the situation. Now we need to wait and see what happens tomorrow. I will be certainly aiming for the best possible result, starting from the back of the grid.”
Teammate Rosberg will start from thirteenth as a result of penalties for Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg and remains hopeful that the W03 will be more competitive in race trim.
“It’s been a difficult weekend for us. Qualifying in 15th place is not where we want to be although I will gain some places due to grid penalties. The times were so close today and it’s disappointing that we couldn’t make it through to Q3. Our pace felt better on high fuel, so hopefully this will work out well in the race and I can gain positions.”